England hopes Spur Winks on
Harry Winks says a burning desire to return to the England squad is providing him with extra motivation when he runs out for Tottenham.
The midfielder appeared to establish himself in the Spurs engine last season, bouncing back from the ankle injury he suffered in March 2018.
Even a groin problem that plagued him during the spring was not enough to keep Winks out of the Champions League final, playing 66 minutes of his side’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in Madrid.
Despite proving his fitness, the 23-year-old was unable to earn a late call-up to the England squad for the Nations League Finals in Portugal.
Gareth Southgate instead favoured team-mate Eric Dier, West Ham’s Declan Rice, Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and Everton new boy Fabian Delph as his holding midfield options.
The Three Lions boss names his squad for next month’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo on Thursday and is tipped to include Leicester’s James Maddison and Chelsea starlet Mason Mount.
Winks is another who could be rewarded for his strong start to the campaign, making the first XI in all three of Spurs’ Premier League games this season as they look to challenge for trophies.
Sunday’s north London derby against Arsenal will either provide Winks with a chance to prove he deserves a Three Lions start if he’s recalled or show Southgate what he is missing, should he be snubbed.
The Hemel Hempstead-born schemer currently has three caps to his name and admits gaining the opportunity to add to that tally is something that drives him on.
“It is something that is always in the back of my head,” he is quoted as saying by the Evening Standard. “I want to be fit and selected for England. Everybody wants to play for their country.
“But first and foremost it is about performing for Tottenham, improving for Tottenham and performances will warrant those call-ups and opportunities.”
Winks made his international debut in the 3-0 win over Lithuania in October 2017 and the highlight of his time playing for the Three Lions was arguably his performance in the 3-2 win over Spain last October.
Despite failing to truly fire in the Nations League Finals, the atmosphere around the England camp has undoubtedly improved since Southgate took charge in 2016 and Winks admits he appreciates the boss’ style.
While previous regimes have been accused of making camps cliquey and allowing players to only associate with club colleagues, it is a different story these days.
The more open and honest approach seems to have lifted the mood around the Three Lions and Winks says Southgate’s demeanour is central to that shift.
He added: “Gareth is always positive, he always gives his opinion and I always respect the manager’s decision.”