This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
When Harry Winks was named in the England starting XI an hour before the Three Lions’ match against Kosovo kicked off, the more eagle-eyed spectator amongst us would’ve noticed something interesting.
So far this season, Winks has made nine appearances in a defensive-midfield spot for Tottenham, and three in a centre-midfield position – against Kosovo however, the 23-year-old was involved higher up the pitch as a No8.
The No8 spot isn’t one that Winks is too familiar with, and judging by the stats, it is evident that the Spurs academy graduate isn’t that much of an attack-minded player – he hasn’t been involved in a single goal so far for Tottenham this term, whereas he scored just once in 41 appearances last season.
On this occasion, however, Winks did look like he knew where the back of the net was.
The diminutive midfielder opened the scoring against Kosovo with an extremely calm finish, in which his first touch took a number of defenders out of the game before he slotted away coolly.
In the second half, we saw Winks drop deeper into a No6 role where he controlled the game well.
The Spurs ace had 96 touches of the ball – the second-most of any player on the pitch – and completed 96.2% of his 79 passes, while also successfully finding a target with seven out of eight attempted long balls.
Interestingly for Pochettino, Winks’ performance should be one that excites him given the formation adopted by Spurs on more occasions than not.
The former Southampton boss tends to line up with three central midfielders, in which there is the potential for Winks to play either as a No.10, No.6 or a No.8 in midfield.
Winks’ showcased his ability to make an impact in a more advanced role on Sunday evening and that should be an encouraging sign for Spurs moving forward.