Leon Osman has told Sky Sports (broadcast on 23/12; 19:28) that he was surprised to hear Harry Winks’s cross for Tottenham Hotspur’s opening goal on Wednesday night was only the third assist the midfielder has provided during his career.
Winks was one of those handed a rare opportunity in Spurs’ latest game. The 24-year-old has been closer to the periphery of the squad this season.
But he was given a start alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg at Stoke as Tottenham looked to book their place in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup.
Jose Mourinho’s men did indeed secure their spot in the last four. And it was Winks who helped set them on their way with a brilliant cross for Gareth Bale.
The England international curled a low ball that looked destined for that corridor of uncertainty just around the goalkeeper’s far post. But on its way, it received a superb glance from Bale who sent it into the bottom corner.
It was only the third time Winks has contributed an assist during his Spurs career (via Whoscored). And when asked about that statistic, Osman admitted that he would not have expected to hear that.
“It did,” he told Sky Sports, when asked if that stat surprised him. “For a guy who dictates passing, tempo, forward passes, gets his teammates on the ball in the right positions, I was surprised that he hadn’t been directly involved in goals more.
“But a player of his ability is the one who starts the move, they find the person who makes the assist. They find the movement that starts the rotation of play. He’s a very underrated player, Harry Winks.”
TBR View: Winks took opportunity to impress
It did seem that the academy graduate did well with his opportunity. He looked good throughout the contest. So he will be hoping that he has staked a claim for more game-time in the Premier League in the coming weeks.
After two defeats on the spin in the top flight, Mourinho may have his eye on potential changes he could make.
Of course, he will not be getting carried away by their blip. But Spurs have shown that they have the quality to make changes. And Winks is perhaps one member of the squad who may set his sights on another chance.