Former Arsenal player Stewart Robson has questioned the role Harry Winks plays for Tottenham Hotspur following their Europa League loss away in Antwerp last night.
Jose Mourinho's good run of form came to an end in the Flemish region of Belgium after a 1-0 loss.
Speaking on ESPN, the 55-year-old criticised the England international for his range of passing, believing he goes backwards too often and doesn't offer enough creativity in the middle of the park.
“I’m not sure what he gives Spurs'' said Robson.
''I think he’s too square with his passing. He goes backwards. He keeps the ball, but there’s no penetration with his passing and he was one of the major problems with Spurs’ performance today.”
Indeed, while that has been something levelled at Winks in the past, it may not be entirely accurate when taking this game in isolation. Over the course of proceedings at the Bosuilstadion, he actually made as many key passes (2) as anyone in the team last night according to WhoScored.
In fact, even looking at his passing output in the Premier League as a whole this season, Winks is actually one of the more progressive in their engine room. Per 90 minutes of action, Giovani Lo Celso, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Tanguy Ndombele all complete more backward passes than him.
Last night, he even made more key passes than he's done in the league this season, so the idea of him simply passing backwards does appear to be a misplaced one.
There are certainly areas he can improve upon, such as matching Hojbjerg in terms of final third passes completed, but Winks isn't merely a backward passer.
While not of the same stature yet, Michael Carrick was another talent often accused of this so perhaps the issue is more about the general perception of certain types of midfielders within English football.
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