Harry Winks has admitted that he was left with no choice but to ask to leave Tottenham last summer as he no longer felt wanted at his boyhood club.
Winks is arguably the biggest success story from Tottenham’s academy since Harry Kane’s emergence, with the midfielder breaking into the first-team and going on to represent the Lilywhites over 200 times.
However, the 27-year-old found himself falling further and further down the pecking order since Mauricio Pochettino left the club in 2019 and it did not come as a surprise when he departed Spurs on loan last summer.
The England international admitted that while he had some amazing years at Tottenham, his decision to join Sampdoria was fairly straightforward last summer.
He told The Times: “Everyone, me and the club, we both knew it was time to part. The situation was clear. I told the club I wanted to go and play regularly. I wasn’t happy just being on the bench and not getting minutes.
“Every time I played, even if I did well I would be out the next game, and it’s really difficult to play your best football like that.
“I said to the club, with no animosity, ‘I want to play regularly. I’ve had some amazing years at Spurs but I want to go and get my confidence and fitness back. I need that to show my qualities again’.
“I spoke to Sampdoria, the manager, the director of football, and one thing that really attracted me was historically they’re a huge club.
“The main driver was I wanted to play for a team that wanted me, that respected me enough and wanted to commit to me in that sense. I wanted to feel wanted and appreciated because in the last couple of years it was difficult at Spurs. I didn’t have that feeling.”
Winks endured an injury nightmare in his first few months in Italy, with an ankle injury keeping him out of action for the entirety of the first half of the campaign.
The midfielder only made his debut for the Serie A club last month but has seemingly put his fitness woes behind him, having started every single one of the club’s last four matches.
The on-loan Tottenham man described the first part of the 2022-23 campaign as the ‘toughest’ time of his career and expressed his determination to repay Sampdoria for the faith they have shown in him.
He added: “Normally I’d say there weren’t any doubts, because you always think you’re going to be fine, but this time there were. It was one of the toughest times in my career.
“You’re moving abroad, trying to get settled in, at a new club, and the main reason is to play football. That’s the one constant you have, playing the game. But instead, you’re answering questions about why the ankle isn’t getting better.
“I feel like I let the club down in that sense. I’m not sure if there were discussions between Sampdoria and Tottenham but it could have been an easy decision to send me back and say let’s leave it. I said from the start, I don’t want to leave, I want to push to be fit for the second half of the season.
“And credit to the club, they stuck by me. That’s why I feel obligated now to give everything. I want to repay the faith when I get the chance. It was only my fifth game since May so it’s going to take time to get back to my best. I’ve got that platform now. I believe I’m playing well.”
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I have always felt that Winks would be more suited to playing in Serie A or La Liga than the Premier League since he would get more time on the ball in Italy and Spain.
If the 27-year-old continues impressing over the next couple of months, I can potentially see some top Serie A clubs viewing for his signature next summer.
There is also a small possibility of Winks’ Spurs career potentially being handed a lifeline in the event that Pochettino replaced Conte at the end of the season.
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