This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Harry Winks is too much of a passenger to be starting regularly for Tottenham Hotspur.
The England international has been a key member of Mauricio Pochettino’s starting XI thus far this season, making 12 appearances in all competitions, and has been central to their poor run of form.
He is the picture of passivity and cautiousness in the centre of the pitch and is not properly affecting games in the latter third of the pitch.
Per Wyscout, Winks averages 68.8 passes per 90 minutes, along with just 0.94 through balls.
His expected assist (xA) rate – made up of passes that should lead to a goal – is just 0.03, while he is yet to actually provide an assist this season.
Winks’ second assist rate – the pass before the actual assist – is almost as low, at a mere 0.12.
Of his 68.8 passes, only 12.74 actually go into the final third, too.
Mauricio Pochettino clearly rates the 23-year-old highly, hence his continued use of him, but it feels as though the time has come to stop utilising him.
Winks has not been stepping up when Spurs need him most.
They have won just three games thus far in the league this season and are already eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the race to qualify for the Champions League.
One thing that Spurs can ill-afford at this stage is passengers and, yet, Winks continues to play a passive passing game, always looking for someone else to drag the club on and provide that moment of sheer genius.
His statistics prove that he consistently looks to offload the ball to someone else, be it Tanguy Ndombele, Moussa Sissoko or even Danny Rose and Serge Aurier, who can then take it forward, shifting Spurs up a gear.
It is never Winks who takes on that role and, with their form as it is, that has to stop.
Of course, Pochettino could tell the Englishman that, but it feels like it would simply be easier to drop him.
It is all very well having a player like Winks in your team when things are good but the going has got tough; he isn’t good enough to get going.