Good morning and happy thursday hoddlers.
Did you really think your hoddler-in-chief would go this whole week without
mentioning celebrating Harry Winks’ 200th appearances for Tottenham Hotspur? We know this is a game we all must play, and I will do my part. Just like I know so many of your will dunk on Winks, and perhaps your hoddler-in-chief as well.
But that’s okay! Because Harry Billy (that’s his middle name!) Winks made his 200th appearance for Tottenham on Saturday. It’s a shame it happened to be as a substitute in a 0-1 loss to Brighton but, hey, what are you gonna do?
Winksy is Spurs through and through. He graduated from the club’s academy, broke into the first team, temporarily lit up the world stage, suffered a horrible ankle injury and has struggled ever since. Today, though, I wish to celebrate one of Tottenham’s own by remembering my three favourite moments from Harry Winks.
His first Premier League goal (vs. West Ham, 2016)
What a dramatic game this was. This was an absolutely chaotic derby at White Hart Lane. Winks, making his first start and wearing the No. 29 shirt, West Ham drew first blood, but it was young blood Winks who scored the equalizer in the 51st minute, quick to to the rebound after West Ham’s keeper deflect a shot from Vincent Janssen (remember him?). Our young hero sprinted to the arms of his manager, Mauricio Pochettino, in one of the great moments at the Lane that season.
That performance against Real Madrid (2017)
Things were looking up for Harry Winks, who at age 21 wriggled himself in the Tottenham Starting XI amid Mousa Dembele’s absence. I’ll be honest here: I didn’t even watch this match. Your hoddler-in-chief, then living in London, couldn’t afford to attend the game at Wembley (or go to the pub) and his laptop was broken. So, after coming home from work, your hoddler-in-chief tuned into the radio on his phone. But that isn’t the point.
It was this performance from Winks that so many admirers point to when they say he can be a great player again. Under the Champions League lights, Winks outduelled his hero Luka Modric during Spurs’ 3-1 victory. Alasdair Gold of Football.London hailed Winks’ performance as “another masterclass from a star in the making.”
Another wondergoal from Winks (vs. Morecambe 2022)
Winks’ stardom was short-lived. The English midfielder was sidelined for a prolonged period of time after injuring his ankle in 2018, and struggled to return to pre-injury form ever since. He struggled under Jose Mourinho and was dropped entirely by Nuno Espiritu Santo.
Then, for a time that seemed all too brief, shone under new manager Antonio Conte. And during an FA Cup match against Morecambe, with Tottenham staring down a humiliating defeat, Winksy stepped up to take a free kick that appeared to be more of an angle for a corner kick.
It was that moment where Winks showed he still had some magic in him, curling the ball at an impossible angle into the back of Morecambe’s net - and he meant it! That goal gave Tottenham much-needed momentum after a far-too sluggish 73 minutes.
With Rodrigo Bentancur’s arrival, Harry Winks has returned to the bench. With Oliver Skipp coming back soon from injury, Winks’ status in the pecking order could drop further. And, at his age, it’s understandable to want to move on to find regular football (but those rumours are for the summer!). But some of Winks’ best moments will live in Tottenham folklore for a long time.
Fitzie’s track of the day: Sweet Creature, by Harry Styles
And now for your links:
The Telegraph ($$): Antonio Conte targets six summer signings
More than 50,000 fans queue online for Roma-Leicester tickets
Women’s Euros: FA caught out with unambitious 2022 venues
United States to play international friendly against Morocco on June 1
The Athletic ($$): Manchester United’s two lead scouts leaving the club