Interviews

Winks: “I used to clean Scott Parker’s boots – but then later, he made time for me”

Harry Winks has told FourFourTwo how he looked up to Scott Parker when he was coming through Tottenham’s academy

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The 22-year-old central midfielder has established himself as an important part of Mauricio Pochettino’s side since making his debut at the beginning of last season.

Predominantly used as a substitute in 2016/17, Winks has started games with increasing regularity, and earned widespread praise for his performances against back-to-back Champions League winners Real Madrid during this season’s group stage.

Winks now has one eye on a place in England’s World Cup squad if he performs well for the remainder of the campaign. And he admits that one of his idols as a youngster was fellow central midfielder Scott Parker, whose impressive debut season with Spurs in 2011/12 was rewarded with starts in all four of the Three Lions’ matches at Euro 2012.

Scott Parker was really good with me when I was first coming through. He was coming to the end of his playing career and made time for the young lads

Speaking exclusively in the April 2018 issue of FourFourTwo, Wink says: “Scott Parker was one player I looked up to. I used to clean his boots, and he was really good with me when I was first coming through. He was coming to the end of his playing career and made time for the young lads.

“I can remember one time when he stayed late after training and talked me through some clips from a Europa League match he’d just played in. He showed me a few things he thought I should do.”

The Tottenham tyro is also full of praise for boss Pochettino, and reveals why he was so eager to celebrate with the Argentine after scoring on his first Premier League start.

I’ve got the utmost respect for the gaffer. What he’s done at the club has been phenomenal, and from a personal perspective, he’s given me opportunities

“A few weeks before that, Josh Onomah had scored his first goal for Spurs in the League Cup against Gillingham, and the next day at breakfast the gaffer came over and had a little joke with him,” explains Winks. “He said: ‘How can you score your first goal and not celebrate with the manager? Harry, when you score your first goal, make sure you celebrate with me!’ When I scored [against West Ham], I instinctively ran to him.

“I have got the utmost respect for the gaffer. What he’s done at the club has been phenomenal, and from a personal perspective he’s given me opportunities, which is all you want as a young player. He has toughened me up a bit and helped me to realise how difficult football can be. I needed to be resilient and work really hard in training.”

Read the full interview with Harry Winks in the April 2018 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. A best young players special, we also speak exclusively to Kylian Mbappe, Richarlison, Ryan Sessegnon, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Justin Kluivert, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Timo Werner, and meet the people who shaped Marcus Rashford’s career. Plus, we go One-on-One with Rafael van der Vaart and experience the ‘Israel-Palestine Derby’ between Beitar Jerusalem and Bnei Sakhnin, after Donald Trump poured oil on the flames of an already-heated affair. Order a copy today, then become a subscriber!