Billed as ‘Little Iniesta’ at Spurs, Winks’ former coach claims he is more like Zidane

Harry Winks has been billed as ‘Little Iniesta’ by Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, but the midfielder’s former youth coach considers him to be more like Zinedine Zidane.

The 23-year-old stepped out of a famed academy system in north London to become a regular in the senior ranks during the 2016-17 campaign.

Winks had already been on Spurs’ books for some 14 years by that stage, with his potential having been spotted early.

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Russell Small was among those to help put an exciting talent on a path to the Premier League and full England squad, with the decision taken to turn a goalscoring right winger into a creative playmaker from the same mould as the legendary French World Cup winner.

The former Tottenham coach told the Daily Mail: “We're going back to 2004-05, Harry was nine or 10 and we used to meet the players and their parents. We would give them a report and what I wrote about him has come true, more or less.

“When he was a little winger he scored lots of goals, but my idea of playing him in the middle was that he would be more involved and use all his skills much more.

“It made my day to hear him say it's the best advice he's been given. If it has stuck in his mind for this long, obviously it was a good decision on my part!

Harry Winks England Kosovo 17112019
Harry Winks England Kosovo 17112019

“He took it in his stride. It was already there, that natural ability to read the game and be technically good enough to do what we wanted.

“Mauricio Pochettino has called him 'Little Iniesta'.

“If there was anyone I would compare him to it would be Zinedine Zidane. The way he could see a pass, short or long, he could go past a player and he scored goals.

“He was average height but very slight. He was physical enough and agile enough to use his skills and keep out the way of stronger players. I can't remember him having a bad game, he was that consistent at that age. There was nothing you asked him to do that he couldn't do.

“To get his first England goal was absolutely brilliant — a great feeling and a great thing for him and his family.”

Winks recorded a first senior goal for his country during the Euro 2020 qualifier against Kosovo.

He opened the scoring in Ebgland's 4-0 win and will now be hoping to cement a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad heading towards another major championship.

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