Harry Winks has heaped praise on Mauricio Pochettino, crediting the former Tottenham manager with keeping faith in him as a young player.
Pochettino was sacked and replaced by Jose Mourinho in November just months after leading Spurs to an unlikely Champions League final. The Londoners failed to recover from their defeat to Liverpool in Madrid, with a poor start to the season costing Pochettino his job.
The Argentinian gave Winks plenty of minutes as a youngster, overseeing the midfielder’s first goal for the club against West Ham United at White Hart Lane. Winks eventually became a regular starter and remains a mainstay under Mourinho.
Speaking to ex-Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson on Sky Sports News, Winks explained why Pochettino was such an important figure in his development as a player.
“[Pochettino] was massive for me – he gave me my debut and he brought me through,” Winks said.
“Especially in a time when young lads coming through the academy were never really given a chance in the Premier League.
“It was always going to be tough to do that, especially at a club like Tottenham, but he kept faith in me. He wouldn’t let me leave or go on loan, believed in me, and gave me my big opportunity.
“He’d always be there to give me advice, call me into his office and show you what you did right and wrong, and tried to improve everybody.
“For me, at a young age to get brought into the first team and feel like you had that backing of the manager and the coaches was massive.”
Winks has struggled at times this season in the absence of a defensive midfield partner – Eric Dier’s performances have been subpar and Victor Wanyama was sold earlier this year. It will be interesting to see how Winks gets on if Mourinho brings in a new holding midfielder next term.