It is not hyperbole to say that Harry Winks has been with Tottenham Hotspur for his entire life. First joining Spurs youth clubs as a five-year-old in 2002, Winks has spent 20 years at Hotspur Way but seems to be on his way out. After two years of significantly reduced appearances and minutes, the time has come for Winks and the club to let go.
Winks a Tottenham Hotspur Academy success story
Like all professional sports, football is very much a business, and in this business, players are routinely churned through, and the odds of making it as a pro are pretty small. Winks has been one of those who broke the odds and went from youth player to first-team academy product.
Much of Winks’s success can be attributed to Mauricio Pochettino bringing Winks to the first team to train before he signed his first professional contract eight years ago in 2014. Later in 2014, Pochettino gave Winks his Tottenham debut at home in a Europa League fixture against FK Partizan.
A couple of seasons later, Winks was a regular in the midfield for Pochettino and Spurs. Although he was not starting regularly, WInks was beginning to get some minutes and showed he could compete against some of the best midfielders in the world. Just back in 2017, we saw Winks boss the midfield against Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in Madrid.
Unfortunately for both Winks and Spurs, it was when he started to get his most significant minutes and role with the club that he suffered a severe ankle injury in late 2017, only weeks after that match at the Bernabéu.
Winks continued to see significant minutes in the years following the injury, but he was not quite the same player on either end of the pitch. He saw his most minutes and matches in 2019-20, starting 26 times in the league for Spurs.
The last couple of seasons have been tough for Winks at Spurs
As Pochettino moved on and Jose Mourinho and now Antonio Conte has taken over, Winks is not a player that fits their mould. Over the last two seasons, Winks has made only 18 league starts and played less than 2,000 minutes in the competition.
Winks did make 30 total appearances last season, but those 30 appearances totaled less than 1700 minutes and less than an hour per outing. With the addition of Yves Bissouma, it seems like there is simply no room for Winks in the Tottenham midfield.
Still only 26, Winks should have his best years in front of him; getting some spot minutes, even on your boyhood team, is not enough, and it sounds like Winks may be moving north to Everton for a fee in the £20-£25m range.
Whether Winks is used as part of a package to bring Richarlison to Tottenham or not, if he is indeed leaving, we certainly wish him well. With 202 appearances for the club, five goals, and six assists, there is little doubt Winks made his boyhood dreams come true.
Winks, along with Harry Kane, Andros Townsend, and Ryan Mason, were part of the next generation of talent for the club and demonstrated that the Academy could produce players with Premier League ability. Soon it seems only Kane will be left from that group, although Mason is part of the coaching staff.
The good news for Spurs is that the future looks bright with talents like Alfie Devine and Dane Scarlett, part of the current Academy. A future partially made possible by the lifetime Winks spent at N17.