When last season’s Premier League campaign began, Harry Winks was looked at as a young player still developing his game. By the time the season was over, the Tottenham Hotspur man was the linchpin of their midfield. Winks became a fixture in the Spurs starting eleven. His poise and patience are perfect for the holding midfield role. He solidified himself as one of the better centre midfielders in the Premier League with his consistent and positive performances.
A Season of Growth For Harry Winks
Injury and Inconsistency
Two seasons ago, the young England international began to see some time for Spurs, but mostly as a substitute. Of his 21 Premier League appearances, 18 of them were off the bench. He started 14 contests the following campaign, including five Champions League matches. Manager Mauricio Pochettino’s confidence in the young centre midfield was growing and, in turn, Winks’ confidence in himself grew as well.
Injuries and inconsistencies from the likes of Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama left the door open for Winks to increase his role in the team. The 23-year-old took full advantage of his chances. He saw his opportunities grow, and by the start of the 2018/19 campaign, he was a solid option in the Spurs midfield. By October, Harry Winks had made himself the first option when filling out the team sheet.
Tidy in Possession
Ever since he began to see regular first-team minutes in North London, he has proven himself to be as accurate a passer as there is in England. He has completed over 90% of his passes in each of the past three seasons. Even as his role and minutes grew, his efficiency with the ball remained consistent. Playing in the deep-lying midfield role, Harry Winks is usually charged with being the point man for Tottenham’s attack. Once he gains control of the ball, his quick turns, vision, and sharp passing propel his teammates forward.
The next step is for him to add some extra production in the final third. He had just two goals and two assists in 82 appearances for the club. His role has been more as a provider to the attacking threats. That means those numbers don’t reflect his impact, but increased production in the final third is always a welcome addition to any player’s game. Control and tempo are the areas where he shapes the game, and he was excellent this past season. Harry Winks is also a crafty dribbler. He doesn’t have the flash or 1v1 skill of some of his more attacking minded teammates, but he is always in control with the ball at his feet.
Winks was not expected to be as crucial at the heart of this Spurs team before the season began. His midfield pairing with Moussa Sissoko was even more unlikely. However, the two formed a partnership that kept Tottenham in the Premier League top four yet again and took them all the way to the Champions League Final. Sissoko’s athleticism and power complemented the poise and precision of Winks perfectly. From late November to March, their partnership was the engine pushing Spurs forward. In a year where the team was beaten down by injuries, these tow held things together. Before the season, no one could have predicted the effectiveness of this pairing. By season’s end, no one could deny it.
Building and Growing
Now established in the Spurs midfield, Winks’ next task will be to grow his game. He has proven to be tidy with the ball, both at his feet and in distribution. Providing more in the final third is the natural progression from the foundation he laid this past season. As he grows in confidence, strength, and experience, he should also improve his defensive prowess. Tottenham will likely add fresh faces to its midfield during this summer. An influx of talent will help build competition for each spot on the pitch. Winks established himself in the centre of the field this season, but players at the highest levels know the work is never done.