By 90Min
October 21, 2017

It is of rare instance that England produces an intricate midfielder possessing an abundance of guile and craft, as more rugged, physical specimens are predominantly associated with your typical English footballer. The likes of Spain and Brazil are more famed for their technical players, perhaps due to the impetus put on their footballers from a young age, or just the innate mentality of a nation conditioning their playing styles. 

However, every now and again, the stereotype is broken. The cliché that an English footballer must be hard hitting, uncoordinated and precipitous is so infrequently reversed that every once in a while a true footballing gem is unearthed amidst our home nation. A player more commonly associated with a Spanish style of play finds himself amid an academy plagued with coaches intent on moulding the players to their liking, but not all of them allow themselves to be neutered of their talents. 

We first saw this breakthrough when a baby faced Jack Wilshere rose through the ranks at Arsenal, displaying such a foreign ability with the ball that fans and pundits alike dubbed him all sorts of superlatives; 'The English Iniesta' or 'The English Xavi'. Coincidentally, it was the aforementioned pair that a then 19-year-old Wilshere wiped the floor with back in 2011, displaying intricacies that one from the United Kingdom could only dream of possessing whilst holding his one within the hostilities of a raucous Camp Nou. 

Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Fast forward six years and this precocious gem that the English media had so emphatically hyped up now finds himself crocked, stagnated and plying his trade sporadically in youth and cup fixtures. Admittedly, the 25-year-old has been dastardly stricken with injuries, but the media driven euphoria and early sense of accomplishment that must've engulfed him after that previously mentioned night in Catalonia seems to have done more harm than good. 

In an act of serendipity, and in the same country as the 19-year-old Wilshere's masterclass, we saw perhaps a second coming of the highly acclaimed midfield pedigree that the English long for in the shape of a certain Harry Winks. 

Albeit two years older than Wilshere when he wowed the Blaugrana, 21-year-old Winks was thrown into the footballing cauldron that is the Santiago Bernabeu amongst illustrious names in the form of Toni Kroos, Luka Modrić, Casemiro and Isco; looking unreservedly at home. Winks' performance earned the team from north London a deserved draw, picking the ball up from deep and looking forward with an attacking intent so often bereft of those from England. 

What made Winks' display all the more impressive was the sole fact that he was the only player in a Spurs kit occupying the middle of the park, with his partners Eric Dier and Moussa Sissoko straying elsewhere to nullify the talents of Real Madrid's superstars.


The Tottenham academy graduate is the only one responsible for what his future in the game holds, despite the obvious inputs of his friends, family and boss Mauricio Pochettino, but what we mustn't do as a nation is over hype the prodigious talent before he has achieved anything reputable in the game. 

The latter point there is something that we, notoriously the English media, are culpable of time and time again, consistently labelling our stars with a lofty, burdening tag similar to that of a European world beater and consequently dimming their immense potential. We must keep Winks and all others of close ilk out of the spotlight and allow them to develop naturally, or we run the risk of another generation of uncoordinated, rugged footballing neanderthals.  

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