Former England defender Danny Mills believes Harry Winks is not yet good enough to command a regular starting role in the centre of the Three Lions midfield – suggesting that Jordan Henderson is better-equipped to fulfil the position.
Winks started in both of England’s final qualifying matches as they sealed a place at next summer’s European Championships – with the Tottenham midfielder scoring his first international goal during a man-of-the-match performance against Kosovo on Sunday.
However, Mills feels that he does not have what it takes to command a starting place in the centre for Gareth Southgate’s team, telling TalkSPORT that Liverpool captain Henderson would be more suited to the role.
Speaking on the depth of England’s squad, he said: “It’s better than what it was. But there are still several questions to be answered.
“I think the centre-back pairing is still an issue. Holding midfield, as well, against the better nations going into the latter stages of a tournament, [I’m] still not convinced Harry Winks has enough to play that role on his own. You might have to drop Jordan Henderson into that position.
“He has the experience, he has the athleticism, and I think in those central areas, you need some sort of glue in there. You need some sort of player that has a lot of experience, a lot of authority, that can command that area.”
It is hard to knock Winks for his recent performances on international duty – though his chances of selection may have been under threat had Henderson been available for the games, which he missed through a mixture of suspension and illness.
Their performances at club level may provide Southgate with a selection headache, with Winks having a far superior passing accuracy rate in the Premier League (90.9%) to Henderson (77.2%) despite the contrasting fortunes of Tottenham and Liverpool this season.
That said, Henderson still has a higher match rating compared to Winks, according to WhoScored, while the 29-year-old’s status as captain of the Reds would fulfil Mills’ criteria of having the experience and authority required to play in centre midfield.
It may be difficult to decipher the potential of Winks’ talents after coming up against the likes of Montenegro and Kosovo, but his ability to deliver on the international stage surely means that Henderson cannot sit too comfortably despite recent success at club level, at the very least.
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