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Harry Winks withdraws from England U21 squad

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That ankle injury is pernicious.

Tottenham Hotspur FC Training Session Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Poor Harry Winks, the guy just can’t seem to catch a break in 2018. Winksy has been on the fringes of Tottenham Hotspur’s squad since the new year as he continues to recuperate from a long-term ankle problem that has been keeping him from playing at full effectiveness.

Now it seems that it’s going to keep him from international duty as well. BT Sport is reporting that Winks has withdrawn from England’s U21 side that will play a friendly against Romania and a U21 Euro 2019 qualifier against Ukraine next week. The official reason is for “further assessment on his ankle injury.”

Once a regular part of Mauricio Pochettino’s midfield rotation (he started every one of Spurs’ Champions League group stage matches), he’s been used sparingly this spring after picking up an ankle knock somewhere along the way. He’s played in the FA Cup, but hasn’t been seen in a league game in 2018, and in his brief appearances in Tottenham’s midfield Winks has been somewhat poor — he certainly hasn’t been putting in the kinds of performances we’ve come to expect from him.

The implication is that whatever niggling ankle injury he’s been nursing for a couple of months is having an affect on both his fitness and his confidence, and either he or Tottenham aren’t willing to risk further injury or a setback in his recovery by playing for Aidy Boothroyd’s Young Lions.

It’s a shame. In October, Winks got his first full international cap, going 90 minutes against Lithuania, and it was thought he had an outside chance of landing a spot on the plane to Russia. Now, thanks to this injury, it looks like those dreams may not be realized.