‘One player I almost forgot about’ – Darren Bent says Spurs man faces battle for England place
Former Spurs striker Darren Bent believes that midfielder Harry Winks could be locked into a battle for a holding role in the England lineup with West Ham United’s Declan Rice.
Winks and Rice were both called up ahead of the qualifying matches against Bulgaria and Kosovo, and it was the West Ham midfielder that was selected to start on both occasions, with Winks spending each match warming the substitutes’ bench.
However, Bent feels that amidst a plethora of options in attacking-midfield roles, both players are of a calibre to battle it out for a deeper role in the England midfield for years to come.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “At the moment, that role [in holding midfield] seems made for Rice.
“One player I almost forgot about is Harry Winks. It’s going to be really interesting to see who gets the nod out of them two because I think technically, Harry Winks is a little bit better in his passing, a little bit crisper.
“I can see them two having a battle for that position for the next few years. We’ve got so many attacking options in Dele Alli, Mason Mount, [Jordan] Henderson, [Ross] Barkley, people like Jack Grealish. When you look at holders there aren’t that many about. I think Declan Rice and Harry Winks could be having battle for a long time.”
Bent may well have reasons to suggest that there is not too much to choose between Winks and Rice – despite their passing statistics forming a mixed picture.
However, during the international break, Rice top-scored amongst the England team with a 96.9% success rate against Bulgaria, while his total of 92% against Kosovo was only bettered by Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho – though both scores are markedly higher than his Premier League passing rate.
Both players have therefore demonstrated a strength in their passing, and perhaps the quality of their club teams plays a role in the sizeable gap between their passing performances in the league.
Though given that has evidently not harmed Rice’s chances of a starting place, perhaps they will be fighting it out for the defensive-midfield position after all.
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