TOTTENHAM’s homegrown hero and classy ENGLAND midfielder HARRY WINKS chats to MATCH about his wicked career so far!
How did your boyhood club Tottenham first spot you?
HARRY SAYS: “I was spotted at a soccer school when I was six years old, and one of the coaches invited me along to Tottenham. To be a Spurs fan at the academy and then make it all the way through – I couldn’t have scripted it any better! Even if I hadn’t made it, I would still be a fan. My dad’s a lifelong Spurs supporter, so I would be the same!”
Who were your heroes growing up then, Harry?
HARRY SAYS: “Jermain Defoe was my Tottenham hero. I really looked up to him, so it was surreal to go away with England and play with him! I was star struck when I met him, because I used to sing his name in my living room and had his name on the back of my shirt! I didn’t tell him that, though!”
What do you remember about your Prem debut?
HARRY SAYS: “I found out that I’d be starting against West Ham the day before, so I called my family and friends to let them know. I was nervous in the build up, but going out under the floodlights at White Hart Lane felt amazing – and to score was even better. It’s definitely up there as one of my career highlights!”
Do you miss White Hart Lane?
HARRY SAYS: “It was an amazing stadium, the atmosphere was incredible in every game and to play there was amazing. I was fortunate to experience it as a player and a supporter, so there are loads of amazing memories, but hopefully we’ll create loads more when we move to the new ground!”
Can you remember the first time the fans sang your name?
HARRY SAYS: “Yeah, it was when we played Southampton at home. We were winning at the time, so all the fans were happy, and they started singing my name. I loved it! They sing ‘Harry Winks, he’s one of our own,’ so they basically just copied Harry Kane’s chant, but it’s always nice when I catch a glimpse of it!”
How would you describe your game?
HARRY SAYS: “I’ve developed my game on technique, keeping the ball and creating when I can, but my main aim in every game is to control the tempo of the match. I’ve been working on making more tackles and scoring goals, but I know my qualities – getting on the ball and controlling the match!”
Who are your role models that play in the same position?
HARRY SAYS: “I’ve always looked up to people that are similar height to me, like Xavi, Iniesta and Modric. They’re not the tallest or strongest, but they stamp their authority on a game. When I moved from right wing to central midfield, watching players like that was a big help!”
How important has Mauricio Pochettino been to your development?
HARRY SAYS: “I couldn’t have asked for a better gaffer to guide me through. There were times when I wanted to go out on loan and play minutes, but I trusted him. Looking back now, it just shows why he’s one of the best in the world, because he got it spot on!”