Harry Winks can be like Xavi or Iniesta, says Pochettino

Harry Winks can be like Xavi or Iniesta, says Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino believes Harry Winks can emulate the likes of Xavi and Iniesta and says the 22-year-old has the “perfect profile” of a midfielder.

Winks has made 64 appearances for Spurs since making his debut in November 2014, also picking up an England cap during that time, but has had his first-team runs restricted by injuries.

The midfielder has been limited to three brief substitute appearances this season as he continues his return to match fitness.

However, with the long-term future of Mousa Dembele in doubt, as well as England’s need for a pass-master in the middle of midfield, this could be a crucial time for Winks to push on and assert his place in the Tottenham first-team.

And Pochettino has made no secret of his admiration for Winks, saying (via the Daily Mail): “Harry has all the profile of the midfielder – perfect. But I don’t want to talk too much and praise him because if so, his head (grows big). His perception will be “wow” and the reality is you still need to prove it.

“But the characteristics are perfect to play football. When we talk about midfielders, you like to use Spanish midfielders like Xavi and Iniesta. He’s like this type of player, this capacity, but please he needs to take in a very positive way my words. He needs a lot of work.”

Pochettino also backed Winks to become one of the best midfielders in England, if he can keep a good mentality and maintain his focus on training.

The Argentine added: “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 suffer, there never is enough training, always try to be better. Football is his focus, not business that are around football.

“Maybe (if he learns this) he will arrive to play in a very good level and be one of the best midfielders in England.”

Tottenham face their biggest challenge of the season so far when they go up against Liverpool at Wembley in the Premier League on Saturday.