Perhaps the one positive thing that has come out of Tottenham Hotspur’s mini midfield injury crisis is the re-emergence of Harry Winks. The 21 year old box-to-box midfielder, a Tottenham academy graduate, has had significant roles in Spurs’ two wins last week: the 3-2 win over West Ham at Wembley Stadium las Saturday, and Tuesday night’s Champions League win over APOEL.
Winksy injured his ankle last spring against Burnley, but it has finally healed and he’s back playing important minutes for Spurs. That’s good, considering both Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele are out for what looks like the next little while. Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is ready to use him, calling him “the perfect midfielder.”
"For me, he is the perfect midfielder, who can play box-to-box and like a holding midfielder. He has the quality and the 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.
"He is completely different to our other midfielders like [Victor] Wanyama, Eric Dier, Mousa Dembele and Moussa Sissoko.He has qualities to add to the team that are completely different
"He is one of the options we have and we celebrate that, because to have the possibility to have him on the team provides us with more quality and more options to play in a different way."
Poch is correct that Winks has a slightly different skill set to Tottenham’s other midfield options. While he’s not as strong as Mousa Dembele, the two share similar abilities with the ball at their feet, and Winksy has the skill to be able to hold off the press and evade defenders. But Winksy also has an excellent football IQ and is a very good passer, which allows him to be a more creative midfield option from deeper positions. This makes him an effective deep-lying playmaker in a way that Dembele and Moussa Sissoko are not.
Pochettino’s glowing comments on Winks may be an indication that he is likely to start again this weekend against Huddersfield, but Pochettino is also wary about overusing him, especially considering he’s only now back to 100% after his serious ankle injury.
"I think he is working so hard after his injury last season and he has started to recover his best feelings. I think he was fantastic against Barnsley in the Carabao Cup and two days ago against Apoel the same, he started to playing in his best.
"We must be careful with him because after a lot of time without competition, to provide him with good rest. It's not the same when you have a proper preseason and you are fit. It's completely different for him, when he is doing different jobs to get fit as possible. We need to try to give the best solution to try to keep that level and then to be regular and the possibility to play more."
A win over Huddersfield would keep Spurs within striking distance of the Manchester clubs at the top of the Premier League table.