Cartilage Free Captain continues its series reviewing the players of Tottenham Hotspur and how they performed in the 2015-16 Premier League season. Today's subject: academy product and England youth international, Harry Winks.
Appearances: 2 Europa League Fixtures
Goals & Assists: 0
Hair Game Potential: Strong to Exceedingly Strong
What went right?
Harry Winks signed two professional contracts in less than a year with Tottenham Hotspur and this is surely a good sign. The now twenty year old was a yo-yo between the first team and Spurs U-21 setup for the entirety of the 2015-16 campaign. That he garnered two appearances in the Europa League is not only a testament to how he plays, but also his fight.
In a first team saturated with box to box midfield options, Winks earned two games from his work on the training ground. Winks was a regular in first team training and this should help him going forward. Noteworthy for his tight touch and maturity in reading the game, Winks looks to be developing into a proper central midfielder for the club.
What went wrong?
With injuries to Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb for large swaths of the 2015-16 season, one might say that Winks, if he was truly special, would have found his way onto the pitch more. That is a pretty tough stance to take. It looks as if Pochettino really wanted him to train with the team, make the bench here and there, and have him progress at the U-21 level.
Considering that Mason, Bentaleb, and Carroll were all battling for Moose's position in the double pivot, there is nothing shameful about him not making a breakthrough with the first team. All of those guys are either much older (Carroll & Mason) or have significantly more experience (Bentaleb) than Winks. If Spurs had progressed further in any of their cup competitions, Harry Winks would have probably grabbed more minutes for the lilywhites.
Harry Winks' 2016-17 season is dependent on the transfer dealings of fringe first team players this summer. While nobody is clamoring to see Ryan Mason and Tom Carroll on the pitch more, both of these players are higher on the totem pole than Winks. If Poche decides to keep them around, one has to assume that he intends to use them; a clear negative for our young Englishman's chances this term.
Harry Winks just needs to keep his head down and train his butt off. There is an outside possibility that Bents, Mason, and Carroll could all depart this summer. If this is the case then Winks will rise up Spurs' central midfield depth chart swiftly. With Pochettino at the helm, Winks will get his chances. It's also possible that Winks could be sent out for a Premier League or Championship loan this season. Let's see if the twenty year-old can continue to take strides forward and make the most of his opportunities.
It's unfair to give Winks a Chirpy rating based on such slim evidence, so instead we'll rank him pass/fail. Based on all the evidence available, he's done fine.