Football News

Spurs midfielder Winks sets the bar high with personal De Jong and Modric aspirations

By CJ Smith

Published: 16:39, 9 September 2019

Harry Winks has set the levels of Luka Modric and Frenkie de Jong as benchmarks for his personal game.

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has been restricted to just three England caps due to injury but has long been touted as the man to complete the jigsaw for Gareth Southgate.

Can Winks emulate Modric and De Jong? Five things to know…

  • England have lost consecutive semi-finals to Croatia and the Netherlands.
  • Modric and De Jong controlled possession for their respective sides, limiting England.
  • Winks has been tipped to become that controlling influence for the Three Lions.
  • Injury has limited him to just three senior caps so far.
  • The Spurs midfielder says he compares his game to that of Modric and De Jong.

The Three Lions have made huge strides under the former centre-back but have lost two consecutive semi-finals, to Croatia and the Netherlands respectively, largely thanks to losing control of the midfield.

Modric and De Jong starred for the opposition during those defeats – controlling possession from deep and denying England a foothold at key points in the games – and Winks has revealed it is against that due that he judges his own game.

“Those qualities are part and parcel of my game,” Winks said ahead of England’s 4-0 win over Bulgaria.

“I compare myself to De Jong and Modric and I take it as a massive compliment [to hear the same from others]. But I’ve got a long way to go until I reach that level.”

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At 23, Winks already has vast experience in big games for Spurs having featured in last season’s Champions League final and five north London derbies but his limitations for England are something which have frustrated the midfielder.

“It’s been tough,” he added. “There have been numerous times I’ve been in the squad and I’ve had to come out with injuries or haven’t had a regular run in the [Spurs] side to be called up. I’ve had a couple of injuries over the last few years which haven’t been at the best of times.

“But when I was younger, to see at 23 I would be in the situation I am now, I would absolutely snap my arm off.

“To represent your country at any level is incredible and to play for Tottenham, my boyhood club, as much as I have has been incredible. I’m very privileged to do both and I feel very humble.

“If I could get through a year without any significant problems, that would be nice. I’m working hard on the rehab side of things and to keep fit and, touch wood, it will be like that this season.”

England face Kosovo on Tuesday while Winks returns to domestic action with Spurs’ home clash against Crystal Palace on Saturday.