Stepping out on the pitch for the first time for your country at the senior level is something special, and Harry Winks accomplished that feat today in Vilnius, Lithuania. Winks, a product of Tottenham Hotspur’s academy, got a surprise call up to the national team last week after a couple of players dropped out. After England qualified for World Cup 2018 in Russia by beating Slovenia last week, the stage was set for Winks to make his senior debut for his country.
Only England manager didn’t just give him that opportunity: he started him. Winksy played as the deeper of two midfielders beside Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and went the distance in a dead-rubber 1-0 win over the Lithuanians.
How did Winksy do? Quite well indeed. Here are his stats.
Harry Winks England Debut— EPL Stat Man (@EPLStatman) October 8, 2017
96% Pass Accuracy
3 Chances Created pic.twitter.com/IApafC5eU6
Yes, it’s Lithuania — they’re hardly Brazil, are they? — but those are very good numbers for a young player making his senior debut away from home, and he was one of the better performers in what was for the most part a pretty lackluster match. After the match, Southgate praised Winks’ performance.
"I was really pleased [with Winks], I thought he showed great maturity, he didn't look fazed by wearing an England shirt.
"His quality on the ball was good, he was the one that found forward passes and he looked to play forward. I thought he could be very proud of his debut."
That was a pretty impressive debut from the 21-year old midfielder. Winksy’s passing ability suited the game very well and the fact that Lithuania rarely put him under any pressure also helped things quite a bit.
We’re a long way from inking Winks’ name on the flight to Russia this summer, but as matches go, getting singled out by your national team manager is no small accomplishment. One suspects this isn’t the last time that we’ll see Winksy named to Southgate’s England squad between now and when the World Cup final rosters are announced.