Ex-Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood has told Sky Sports' The Debate that he thinks Mauricio Pochettino's comments comparing Harry Winks to Andres Iniesta prove how much he trusts the midfielder.
Pochettino has always been praised for giving opportunities to young English players, given that Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane have all become important players for England thanks to their development under Pochettino.
Now, Spurs have another talent in the England squad, as an injury to Manchester City's Fabian Delph resulted in Gareth Southgate calling up Spurs midfielder Harry Winks as his replacement.
Winks, 21, has started just four Premier League games for Tottenham, leading many to believe that his call-up has been rushed, but he is very highly rated with Spurs, having come up through the ranks with the club.
Winks has become a trusted player under Pochettino, having started Champions League and Premier League games last week, stepping up in the absence of injured duo Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama.
Now, Winks is in line for an England debut against Slovenia or Lithuania, and former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood has offered his thoughts on the call-up and Winks' development in general.
Sherwood told Sky Sports' The Debate that he thinks Winks is 'moving in the correct direction', and whilst he loves that Winks has the confidence to take possession of the ball even at a young age, he does think he needs to decide whether he's an attacking or defensive midfielder.
Sherwood was also asked about Pochettino's comments comparing Winks to Barcelona hero Andres Iniesta (The Telegraph), suggesting it's a 'massive statement', but a sign of how much Pochettino trusts the young midfielder – and if he can be even half the player Iniesta is, then English football will be happy.
“He’s a good player, I think he’s got to define himself, whether he’s an attacking midfielder, or somebody who breaks up the game,” said Sherwood. “I think he’s getting good body strength around him now, he’s not afraid to go and take the football, he goes and gets it off anyone, he’s got a big heart, which says a lot about the kid. I think he’s moving in the correct direction.”
“It’s obviously a massive statement, Iniesta has been a world-class player for club and country for a number of years. Hopefully, we can see another Iniesta. If he can be half the player Iniesta is, we’ll be happy. [Pochettino] trusts him, when the game is in the balance, or Tottenham have gone behind, he brings him off the bench ahead of the likes of Mousa Dembele, who is a top player,” he added.