‘I had an honest chat with the manager’: Harry Winks reveals Jose Mourinho instructed him to train even harder to make his way back into Tottenham side
- Harry Winks has started Tottenham’s last nine games in all competitions
- But the 24-year-old said he was instructed to train harder by Jose Mourinho
- Winks also believes English football does not appreciate passing midfielders
Harry Winks has revealed Jose Mourinho told him he had to train harder to force his way into his Tottenham team.
The 24-year-old, billed as the ‘Little Iniesta’, also believes that English football does not appreciate passing midfielders like him as much as they should.
Winks has started Spurs’ last nine games in all competitions ahead of the clash against Wolves but when Mourinho arrived it took him a while to nail down a regular starting spot.
Harry Winks has said Jose Mourinho told him to train harder to get back into the Spurs team
Winks has started Tottenham’s last nine games in all competitions ahead of the Wolves clash
‘I had an honest chat with the manager and he told me what he believed I needed to do,’ said Winks. ‘It was just an honest conversation, which I respect massively. It started with training.
‘I just think my whole level and just the intensity as well, which I said to the manager that I agree. Since we had that conversation things have improved and I have been playing more and it is important that I keep those levels and intensity because I want to stay in the team.’
On the surface, it might seemed like it might be an odd match. Winks, the neat passer, and Mourinho, the pragmatist hardly renowned for his tiki-taka style of possession football.
‘He appreciates what everyone brings to the team and what their strengths are,’ said Winks. He prefers defensive shape and being organised. That is something we needed to improve on anyway because we were shopping too many goals. Defensively, my role is a lot more important now. I needed to improve on that. I think defensively I have started to improve under the new manager.
And Winks has credited an ‘honest conversation’ with the Portuguese to help him back to form
‘He has said it many times, he wants us to keep the ball, he wants us to create chances, and wants us to build from the back when it is the right time. We are still in the early phases of working out what the strategy is and what the tactics are.’
If Mourinho appreciates Winks’ neat passing play – no English midfielder has completed more passes at a higher completion rate in the Premier League this season – Winks does not feel that many in this country do.
‘Everybody always talks about players like Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick … people like Michael Carrick get a lot of recognition after they retire and they are more players’ players as such. Every team needs goalscorers, needs attacking players, needs players who can sweep up the ball, but every team needs that someone who can be that link between both defence and attack.
‘If you look at the greatest teams who have played they have always that sort of player. I think in England especially there is always an impetus to look straight for the attack-minded players, to look at the goalscorers and the people who get the assists.
Winks believes English football does not appreciate midfielders like the retired Michael Carrick
‘I think it is important to look back not just at the midfielders but the defensive and look at footballers in a different way. When we score it’s who has affected the game that way. But when we break the game down and look in depth and look at the reason why it has happened I think that is overlooked a bit slightly.’
Winks has faced criticism about his training before. Former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said back in September 2018 that Winks had to learn ‘that there never is enough training, always try to be better’.
Much of that also centred on Pochettino’s belief that Winks needed to learn how to ‘play with pain’, to understand that footballers often have to play with knocks and niggles.
‘I totally agree,’ says Winks. ‘Over the last few years I have realised what pains I can play with and which I need to be a little more pragmatic about. It’s something I’ve got used to now. I am sure every footballer would say the same.’
Mauricio Pochettino said in September 2018 that Winks had to learn to train no matter what
Source: Read Full Article