Despite starting him against Crystal Palace at the weekend, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho must drop Harry Winks from the starting line-up against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League tonight.
The English ace just doesn’t offer much more than keeping things steady in the park, and his display against Palace was proof of that – in their post-match player ratings, The Evening Standard said he was “neat and tidy”.
In fact, as per Whoscored, out of those players who have featured at least ten times in all competitions this season for Spurs, Winks has the lowest average match rating of any of them with a measly 6.38.
His tally of providing only 0.3 key passes per game is even lower than left-back Ben Davies (0.4), while his average of 0.8 tackles per match is the third-worst in the squad – whether it’s defensively or going forward, Winks’ impact hasn’t been too significant this campaign.
Speaking back in January, former Spurs man Darren Bent delivered his verdict on the £50k-a-week earning Winks, saying: “At the end of the day, Mourinho has got several options in the middle of the park. We know how Mourinho likes to play. If you look at his older teams, for instance, they’re all big powerful guys and this team is being built using the same kind of DNA.”
After being a crucial part of the squad during the years of Mauricio Pochettino’s time in charge – he played 115 times under the Argentine – Winks has quite simply been overtaken in the pecking order by several Spurs stars.
Last summer’s arrival Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has firmly established himself as one of the first names on the team-sheet for Mourinho this season, playing 40 games in all competitions already, including playing the full 90 minutes in every single Premier League game.
That really only leaves one other space open in that deeper lying midfield two that Mourinho looks to go with, and when you’ve got the likes of Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Moussa Sissoko and Eric Dier, among others who could play there, then it really doesn’t give much room for error for Winks.
One bad display is enough to see you lose your spot in the team, and his performance at the weekend against Crystal Palace certainly didn’t pull up any trees or send Mourinho a timely message about keeping his place.
When Spurs take on Zagreb tonight in the Europa League, Winks should not be on the team-sheet. It would be a ruthless call to make given he was just handed a start against Palace, but it’s one Mourinho has to make.