Harry Winks made his first Premier League start this weekend since he picked up a nasty ankle injury in February.
Winks travelled to see specialists in Qatar about his ankle issues, before returning to the UK to undergo surgery for a more permanent fix.
This not only kept Winks out of the run in to the end of last season, but also the England squad that flew to Russia in the summer for the World Cup.
Earning Man of the Match on his England debut, and in sweltering form for Tottenham, Winks looked a sure pick for Gareth Southgate.
The young centre mid kept the likes on Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in his pocket home and away in the group stage of the Champions League.
Harry has now spoken about the tough mental challenges that come with facing a lengthy time out, and how he’s feeling now that he is finally back.
Winks said: “It’s been tough, those first early stages when you come back with the boys and you feel pain every day, and your ankle’s not going to be the same as it was.
“But it’s football, I’m used to it now. I’ve been back with the boys for five or six weeks. I’m feeling strong, sharp, fit. Saturday was a good tester for me, to go out there and really try my ankle, and it felt good.
“It doesn’t inhibit me at all. I feel a little bit more pain [than before], but playing-wise it’s no different.”
Winks was then asked if he would have to tackle differently now, to protect his ankle: “No, I think it’s been blown out of proportion. It’s not that bad. I play football like I always have done and just mentally overcome the pain barrier.
“I go out there, focus on everything bar my ankle and on Saturday I didn’t even realise it, I didn’t notice it.
“There are hundreds of footballers out there who play with pain, and I’m just another one that has to learn to deal with that.
“I’m feeling sharp, strong, confident. I feel I’m getting back to where I was last year.
“It was a good feeling for me to be back in the starting XI but all of that gets ruined when the result doesn’t go our way and we don’t win. It’s a positive start but a disappointing end.”
How good is it to have Winks back and playing?
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