England manager Gareth Southgate believes that Spurs midfielder Harry Winks is ‘as good as anybody’ when put under pressure on the ball.
The 23-year-old, who has fallen out of Tottenham’s starting XI in recent weeks, was again called up to Southgate’s Three Lions squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Montenegro and Kosovo. He will be looking to obtain his fifth cap this evening when Montenegro visit Wembley.
Gareth Southgate has heaped praise on the young holding midfielder, but admitted that his lack of game time with Tottenham recently is a slight problem.
“He’s a different type of midfield player to someone like Declan [Rice] or an Eric Dier, who have played in that single pivot for us before,” Southgate told Sky Sports (via HITC). “He’s probably as good as anybody in the country at receiving [the ball whilst being] tightly marked.
“A lot of the pivots that play in England are converted centre-backs. He is somebody who has learned his trade as a midfield player from when he was very young, so he’s a different type.
“At the time, he’s not in Tottenham’s team, so that’s not perfect for us but I’m sure he’ll work his way back into that and I think the way that he played in Bulgaria, I think that’s what he’s capable of.”
Winks replaced West Ham’s Declan Rice in England’s last match against Bulgaria – a match that the Three Lions convincingly won 6-0 in Sofia – and looked sharp, achieving an overall match rating of 7.47/10 from WhoScored.
He has been unfortunate with game-time in north London in recent weeks, somewhat surprisingly considering how poor Spurs have performed in the Premier League during that time.
All he can do now is grasp his opportunity when it is presented to him, possibly tonight against Montenegro, and convince Southgate that he is capable of holding his own in that lone ‘pivot’ role in front of the defence.
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