Harry Winks says he is loving the freedom of playing for England amid a “difficult” start to the season with Tottenham.
Winks has looked sharp in the recent internationals against the Republic of Ireland and Belgium, despite falling down the pecking order at Spurs.
The 24-year-old has not played a minute in the Premier League since losing possession in the build-up to Manuel Lanzini’s stoppage-time equaliser in Spurs’ 3-3 draw with West Ham and last started a domestic match in September.
But he remains in a strong position with the national team and could start again in Wednesday’s Uefa Nations League qualifiers against Iceland, with Jordan Henderson a doubt.
Asked if he needed more minutes with Spurs, Winks said: “Definitely.
“My situation at Tottenham is difficult at the moment and it’s important that I keep fighting and working as hard as I can to stay in the squad and to stay in the team.”
“Every time I get the opportunity for England I love it, it’s a great place to play football here, it’s free and the lads get on really well, it’s a great place to come to.
“I want to be a part of that in the Euros and I want to be in the starting XI in the Euros as well. But, yes, it’s important that back at Tottenham I get the opportunities there and I stay in the team there as well.”
Sunday’s 2-0 loss in Leuven ended England’s hopes of qualifying for consecutive Nations League finals and leaves them with consecutive competitive defeats ahead of the dead-rubber against Iceland at Wembley.
Even so, Winks believes the Three Lions have “frightening” squad depth and insists they have the quality to win next summer’s European Championship.
“We are definitely up there in the sense of the players that we’ve got, and the squad and the quality in depth as well is frightening, and the amount of players who can step in and who are constantly trying to give the manager difficult decisions to make,” he said.
“The good thing about England right now is we’ve got so many good, technical players, there are so many good players performing at such high levels in their clubs as well, once we get that gel right and once we start to get a bit of consistency going into the Euros we definitely believe that we are good enough to go all the way.”
Gareth Southgate’s preferred 3-4-3 system has come under scrutiny in the losses to Denmark and Belgium, with the England manager having been accused of being too negative.
On Sunday, he left Jadon Sancho on the bench to accommodate a back-three, two wing-backs and a midfield of Henderson and Declan Rice, before Winks replaced the Liverpool captain at half-time.
“We forget as well that we’ve got two full backs as well that like to get forward and create overloads in the opposition half as well,” Winks said.
“So it’s not really as such, (only) three players in the forward half, you’ve got the two full backs to attack as well to create five. It’s just about getting that balance right and finding the openings but against good sides like Belgium this is always going to be difficult to do that consistently.
“It feels like we are creating chances and getting opportunities in the opposition box but it’s international football, you don’t get as many chances as you probably would in Premier League football because you’re playing against top-quality defenders so it’s always going to be limited to the amount of chances you get.
“But with the players that we’ve got in the front half you can never rule them out of scoring goals and you can never rule players out from creating opportunities as well.”
(London Evening Standard)