In comments reported by Football London, Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that he will not criticise Gareth Southgate’s use of Harry Winks during the international break after the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder did not play a single minute for England.
Winks was an unused substitute for the games with both Bulgaria and Kosovo as the Three Lions won both fixtures to move a step closer to qualifying for next year’s European Championships.
It was Declan Rice who started in the middle of the park. But Pochettino insisted that he will not criticise Southgate’s decision as he was asked about whether he was surprised to see the midfielder not involved during the break.
“No, I cannot judge my colleague, another manager,” he said, as reported by Football London, when asked if he was surprised.
“I have full respect to my colleague and I cannot judge a different manager’s decision, like I don’t like when another manager judges me. It’s his decision. I don’t have an opinion on that.”
It would not be a big surprise if Pochettino was actually quite pleased to see Winks come back having played no minutes.
His priority will obviously be Tottenham’s fortunes in the coming weeks. They have a run of games in the league ahead where they can arguably target taking maximum points. Meanwhile, they also open their Champions League group-stage campaign.
Winks will be that little bit fresher for not playing any of England’s two games. So perhaps it makes sense that Pochettino does not appear particularly bothered that Winks did not play more.