Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, former Tottenham man Gary Mabbutt has called on Harry Winks to seize his chance at the club and “become a dominant force”.
The midfielder has been a regular in Jose Mourinho’s side this season, playing eight games across all competitions, but has completed the full 90 minutes just twice in the Premier League.
With Spurs now seeing a revitalised Tanguy Ndombele, and the summer addition of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg too, Winks has got far greater competition for places in that middle of the park.
And Mabbutt has urged him to take his opportunity when it comes, and insisted that he has got all the quality to become a really top level player for Spurs.
He said: “Harry Winks is a great player. Harry’s still got that opportunity, and he’s got to grasp that opportunity because things can come and go very quickly in football. Harry is also another player who could be in a similar position in that midfield area where he could become a dominant force.”
Whilst the Englishman, who earns £50,000-a-week according to Salary Sport, continues to play a lot of football at Spurs – last season saw him make 31 appearances in the Premier League alone – he hasn’t quite hit the heights that former manager Mauricio Pochettino tipped him to reach.
The Argentine, who even compared Winks to Spain legends Xavi and Andres Iniesta, once called him “perfect”, raving: “For me, he is the perfect midfielder, who can play box-to-box and like a holding midfielder.
“He has the quality and capacity to play and use the demand of the game and read it. He’s so clever, and we are so happy that he starts to feel better now because he provides to the team qualities that we don’t have.”
But if Pochettino envisioned him as a box-to-box midfielder, then he hasn’t shown any inclination of adding an attacking threat to his game, managing a measly two goals and two assists across all competitions in his last five years at the club. Winks hasn’t established himself as a regular at international level either, with just seven caps to his name with England.
Winks’ situation at Spurs is comparable to that of teammate Dele Alli, who like the north London side’s academy product, has hit a bit of a roadblock in his career. The former MK Dons starlet has fallen out of favour under Mourinho, playing just 67 minutes of Premier League football this season, and was hooked at half-time in the Europa League clash against Royal Antwerp.
But if Mourinho can really work out what kind of midfield talent Winks can develop into, then that will be the key to seeing him realise his potential.