The Antonio Conte era at Tottenham Hotspur is only 17 days and two games old but, while the sample size may be small, we already have an idea what the former Chelsea, Inter Milan and Juventus boss has planned.
In particular, who he likes and who he doesn’t, who may be reborn under Conte and who’s in danger of the axe.
Hugo Lloris, it seems, will stay as Tottenham’s number one – for the time being at least.
Emerson Royal and Sergio Reguilon will play in new-look wing-back roles, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will have a more attacking role than before and there may also be a place for Ben Davies on the left of Conte’s famed three-man defence.
But for poor old Harry Winks, a new era in north London is already starting to feel eerily similar to the last one.
Does Harry Winks have a future in Conte’s Tottenham?
Winks struggled for game time under Nuno Espirito Santo. And, given he played just 17 minutes against Vitesse and then failed to get off the bench at Everton, it already seems unlikely the England international is a candidate for a Victor Moses-style revival under Conte.
Now, Conte did admit Winks could make his first Premier League start since the 3-0 hammering at Crystal Palace when Leeds United come to town on Sunday.
That, however, is simply the result of Oliver Skipp’s suspension. And, despite being a more natural fit than the free-spirited Tanguy Ndombele in a deep-lying role, Winks still isn’t guaranteed to start against Leeds.
“I hope today to have Hojbjerg, because he also was injured in the last week and didn’t work (train),” Conte told Football London with a wry laugh.
“Then there is one between Winks and Tanguy Ndombele. Not many choices but we have to go.”
If Conte feels he has four senior central midfielders at his disposal, there’s an argument to be made that Winks is bottom of the pile; fourth out of four.
Reports suggesting Tottenham are closing in on a deal that would see Corentin Tolisso join on a free transfer from Bayern Munich, then, are the last thing Winks wanted to hear.
Spurs in pole position to sign Corentin Tolisso
According to Football Italia, Spurs are in “pole position” to sign the 27-year-old France international. Managing director Fabio Paratici, who tried to sign him for Juventus in 2017, opened talks with Tolisso three weeks ago.
That, interestingly, was around the same time as Winks opened up on his frustration at Spurs, admitting he was finding life as a back-up option tough.
Tolisso’s arrival, should it come to fruition, has a ‘final straw’ sort of feeling about it; the silence that follows the death rattle.
There’s still time on Winks’ side, however. Tolisso’s contract isn’t due to expire for another eight months.
Sunday’s clash with Leeds is an opportunity Winks can’t afford to miss.