Tottenham Hotspur return to Europa Conference League action as they head to Slovenia to face NS Mura later this evening.
Three weeks ago, Antonio Conte picked up a win in his first game in charge in the competition when his side narrowly defeated Vitesse in a game full of goals and red cards.
He’ll be hoping that it’ll be a little different this time, having drawn to Everton and beaten Leeds United in the Premier League since.
We’re well on our way to seeing what a Spurs side truly looks like under the 52-year-old and a game against the Group G minnows tonight could be the perfect opportunity to get a serious scoreline on the board, with Mura yet to win or draw from four matches.
Spurs have a trip to Burnley to contend with on Sunday, so Conte has an interesting decision to make in terms of team selection and having already hinted at rotation, there’s a good chance we do not see several of his usual starting XI.
Harry Winks was part of the lineup at the weekend but that was only because of Oliver Skipp’s one-game suspension and he is surely in line to face the axe today.
The 25-year-old has hit a career crossroad at Spurs, having been frozen out by former managers Jose Mourinho and Nuno Santo, and whilst Sunday’s inclusion shows some sort of faith from Conte, it would be wise to drop him against Mura.
He failed to grasp the rare opportunity to impress – it was a lot of sideways and backwards passing without much influence on the game defensively or in the final third. Skipp, however, is amongst the three-most prolific tacklers in the squad, by contrast.
SofaScore graded the Englishman a 6.7, which was the second-worst of any Spurs player to feature, whilst he lost possession a disappointing 14 times from his 63 touches, with none of his passes being a key chance created. He was also dribbled past twice by Leeds, too.
There have been reports suggesting that Winks is seeking an exit in January and it would be wise to finally part ways as he just doesn’t seem good enough anymore.
It was a long, long time ago that ex-manager Mauricio Pochettino dubbed him “perfect” and likened him to Spain’s legendary duo of Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
Since then, Lilywhites legend Graham Roberts told Football FanCast that Winks had “become an average player”, whilst BT Sport pundit Chris Sutton claimed he “looked a shadow of himself” during coverage last month [21st October, 18:40pm].
The £18m-rated midfielder has no place in Conte’s starting XI, even if it’s against a side as small as Mura. His time at the club is surely coming to an end, so it would be wise to try out and look at alternatives.