Mauricio Pochettino’s recent admission that Mousa Dembele’s playing time must be managed should be a real concern for Tottenham Hotspur fans.
The midfielder has a rare mix of power and finesse that’s crucial to their gameplan.
Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama and even Moussa Sissoko all have their uses. However, none of them can link play in central midfield like Dembele.
The Belgium international had surgery during the summer to try and address a persistent foot injury.
Despite going under the knife, the midfielder still needs to be used carefully. He’s been left out of the starting XI in Spurs’ last two league games.
Dembele’s fitness issues could open the door for Harry Winks to come in and establish himself.
The 21-year-old broke into the first-team picture last season and looked comfortable at Premier League level.
Winks is very tidy on the ball and he averaged 91% pass accuracy last season, second only to Dembele in the Spurs squad.
Tottenham need a player in central areas that can spread play and unlock defences.
It’s especially important at Wembley, as Spurs have struggled to break down opponents on the bigger pitch in league action this season.
If Dembele can’t play, Winks is the obvious candidate to come in and take that role.
The England Under-21 international recovered from an ankle injury to make his first start of the season in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup win against Barnsley.
His return to fitness could be perfectly timed.
Spurs travel to West Ham for their next game as 6/10 favourites.
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