Pochettino on that Harry Winks call up

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Tottenham youngster Harry Winks has been on the fringes of the first team for a number of years now, but this season, armed with his new number 8 shirt, the midfielder looks as if he’s finally ready to make that starting position his.

Winks was a regular for Tottenham this point last season, and even earned his first England senior call up, but injury soon put a stop to his fine form.

Off the back of stellar shows in the Champions League, keeping the likes of Modric and Kroos in his pocket, Winks surely would have been a pick for Southgate’s World Cup team.

Unfortunately Winks spent almost half a year out with injury, missing both the World Cup, and the run in to Tottenham’s campaign.

But now Winks is back and firing, with a fantastic gutsy performance against Barcelona on Wednesday.

The young midfielder has been called up in Southgate’s latest squad to face Croatia and Spain this month.

Pochettino spoke about the number 8 in his press conference today, as reported by Football London.

He said: “It’s not my job to judge if it’s deserved or not. It’s more about the manager of the national team, who I congratulate for his contract extension yesterday. No it’s up to him to judge if it’s deserved. If you’re called up to the national team then you feel it’s deserved.”

Asked whether he would call Southgate and ask for Winks to be rested/looked after, Poch said: No. Of course it’s so difficult to communicate with all the national teams. Look at now, before my press conference you knew about the Vertonghen situation because Roberto told the media in Belgium before us. But in the end it’s our player, our Tottenham player. Our Tottenham employee. We arrived here and we needed to explain. It’s difficult. They need to call us. They need to call and ask. If they call us, we are more than open to talk – and give our opinion. But if they don’t call, our door is always open to receive. You asked me about Harry Winks – no-one called me, no-one called you [Jesus].

“Why? I’m not going to… The natural thing, if they have some doubt, is to call us. Not you calling them. Because the players are here every day and in the end our job is day-by-day and for them it’s every month. And they have a little bit more time than us to be interested in the player and call us. “I don’t want to create a problem but that is the normal behaviour — that the national team calls you, not that you call and say ‘oh, be careful with this or that’. It’s like you don’t want the player to go to the national team.

“For me it’s about being able to play football. To have game time for him. He needs to build his confidence and trust in himself and believe in the way that he wants to play. I told you for me he’s a player that is a real midfielder. He’s dynamic, can play forward with the capacity to run. He’s dynamic. Only it’s about being fit and building his confidence.

“Of course the game against Watford in Milton Keynes he was the same, not so good and started to build his confidence and in the second half was so good. Again against Huddersfield 45 minutes I thought he played well. Against Barcelona it was the same. It’s true that the team didn’t start well. We started well in one minute and a half but then we conceded the goal. Always though the team was in the game.

“I think he finished very strongly in the game and for me that is a very good signal that he’s fit and he can cope with 90 minutes, which is an important thing.”

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