The Harry Winks Dilemma for Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur

LEIPZIG, GERMANY - MARCH 10: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
LEIPZIG, GERMANY - MARCH 10: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /
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Harry Winks of Tottenham
LEIPZIG, GERMANY – MARCH 10: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

Not Enough Contribution

Ultimately, Winks is just not providing enough right now for a squad that wants to compete for trophies on 4 fronts. 2 goals and 2 assists across 151 games is just not enough. Not only is he not contributing statistically and be carded too often, but Winks is also actually performing below expectations when looking at his expected assist (xA) and expected goal (xG) contributions.

If you are not familiar with xA and xG, you can visit here and learn more. However, the gist of it is that those are analytic computations based on the events of the matches, creating a number for when you are statistically expected to have an assist or have a goal. You can then take that expected contribution and subtract it from the actual contributions to see how efficient, statistically speaking, a player is performing.

For Winks his actual contribution minus his expected contribution was negative in both assists and goals last year and has been negative for assists two years in a row. What this means, is that Winks has been in the position to score or assist, but has not come through, statistically. Now someone could have missed the shot, or the shot was blocked, but the bottom line is from a percentage’s perspective Winks should be producing more.

If you dig in deeper, you see Winks has only had 10 goal chances created since the 2017-18 season. While the volume of shots created (77) is far greater, that is only one legitimate shot on goal in every 7 attempts he creates. Compare that to the eight assists Harry Kane has already this season and clearly, we need more production.

The Tottenham Dilemma

Given everything, one would have to say that having not progressed more in the last couple of seasons – whether due to injury or something else – Harry Winks maybe needs to move on. While Harry is needed for this season to provide cover for Højbjerg and Sissoko, it is clear he is a rung below those players and is struggling in the Mourinho system. Easy call sell him in the summer, but not so fast.

At the same time, Winks is homegrown, has been at this club 8 seasons, and been with the first team five. He started with the club at 16 and Winks is one of our own. As such, there are some that see Winks – me included for a long time – through rose colored glasses. However, the reality is at this point, Winks’ situation is like that of Ryan Mason.

Mason got his breakthrough under Pochettino and was a fan favorite for his effort and enthusiasm in the midfield. For a while Mason made the grade, but as Tottenham continued to advance as a club, Mason was not quite up to the level Pochettino desired and he was sold on. Unfortunately for Mason, injuries derailed his career, but thankfully he is okay and at the club as a youth coach.

As for Winks, he likely has a long career in front of him, it just is not likely to be at Tottenham Hotspur the way things look right now. That said, there are still a couple months before the January window and a lot more season before the end of the campaign. If Winks can find his confidence and stop thinking and start simply playing football again, he may still have the growth to make it at Tottenham long term. However, if that confidence and crispness is not found and soon, a loan or sale may be in the future for Winks, which would be both a success and a disappointment for the academy.