Harry Winks, his Tottenham role under Jose Mourinho and the Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg question mark


Jose Mourinho’s Spurs tenure appears to be taking shape after picking up 13 points from the last 15 available in the Premier League.

An impressive 3-0 win over Leicester City on Sunday stands as one of the best performances during the Portuguese manager’s time in North London with goals from Harry Kane and Son Heung-min securing three points.

Spurs currently sit in 6th position with Wolves holding a game in hand and two points behind them in 7th. Therefore, a win against Crystal Palace on Sunday will be crucial for Mourinho’s men in their quest to finish in the top Europa League place.

While Mourinho’s reign has shown signs of taking shape, question marks remain over Harry Winks in the middle of the park. The 24-year-old had once been a key member of Mauricio Pochettino’s midfield but there are a number of factors to suggest that he could be facing a fight for a starting place in the coming months.

That may sound like a strange thing to be saying when you consider that he has started the majority of games under Mourinho. However, it could be fair to say that the 24-year-old doesn’t quite fit the type of profile that the Spurs boss is looking for from a midfielder.

The 4-2-3-1 formation often requires the likes of Son, Lucas Moura and Dele Alli to support Harry Kane in attack and therefore have two defensive midfielders in a double pivot that can progress the ball and provide defensive cover.

While Winks can provide accurate progression of the ball to some extent, he lacks the defensive security that Mourinho has often favoured from central midfielders. Nemanja Matic, who played for him at both Chelsea and Manchester United, is the perfect example of a midfielder that he tends to pick in the middle of the park.

For Winks, he has had a relatively positive season that has been void of injuries seen earlier in his career and added defensive elements to the 24-year-old’s game have shown capabilities of adapting to some extent under Mourinho.

Nevertheless, his strengths lay with retaining possession and providing structure in attacking phases of play rather than that physical presence often associated with Mourinho’s preferred style.

Moussa Sissoko has improved throughout his time at the club from a defensive standpoint and performs that role relatively well. Meanwhile, playing Giovani Lo Celso alongside him at times has shown the Argentine to be more effective at progressing the ball from deep than Winks.

Therefore, transfer links to Southampton’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg indicate that there could be a change in personnel for Spurs’ midfield and Winks may be questioning his starting place.

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The Denmark international has been a key part of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side over the last couple of years and continued progressive as an aggressive midfielder makes links to Spurs rather feasible.

His intense pressing, defensive assurance and physical stature are all elements to suggest that the 24-year-old would be far more suited to adding security in midfield than Winks.

Given the vast change in playing style since the arrival of Mourinho, it is only natural that Spurs will undergo a period of change in personnel and Winks could certainly be one of the players fighting for his place in the side when all things are considered.





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