Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has been heaping the praise on young Harry Winks ahead of the midfield maestro’s return to full fitness.
Winks suffered a long period on the side lines last season, after picking up a serious ankle injury in February.
After seeing specialists in Qatar, Winks flew back home to England to have surgery on his ankle for a more permanent fix.
The injury came at an awful time for Winks as he seemed like a dead cert for the England squad to go to Russia for the World Cup this summer, after picking up a Man of the Match award on his international debut in October.
Winks kept the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in his pocket both home and away to Real Madrid in the Champions League last season too.
Now, Pochettino believes that Winks could be the answer to England’s problems, as they have lacked a real creative midfielder since the likes of Gerrard and Lampard retired.
Even Gareth Southgate admitted after England’s semi final loss that his country had lacked a player to control the midfield since Paul Gascoigne.
Pochettino said: “Harry has the profile of the perfect midfield player. His characteristics are perfect. When we talk about midfielders like [Spain greats] Xavi and Iniesta, he’s like this type of player. He has this capacity but he needs to take my words in a very positive way — he needs a lot of work.
“I don’t want to praise him too much because if so his head [grows big]! His perception will be ‘wow!’ And the reality is he still needs to prove [himself].
“He has the possibility and the potential, of course, but now it is up to him and we go again: mentality. In his mind he is capable to learn about suffering: there never is enough training, always try to be better.
“Football must be his focus, not the business around football.
“Maybe [if he learns this] he will play at a very good level and be one of the best midfielders in England.
“If he wants to take my advice, take it. If people don’t want to take it, we cannot help. But of course his potential is to be a very, very good player for England and Tottenham. First for Tottenham and then, if England believe that he can help them, for England, too.”
Very high praise indeed for the young Tottenham man.
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