Harry Winks can play as the holding midfielder in Spurs’ new system, says Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino says Harry Winks is capable of playing in front of the back four by himself in Tottenham’s new system as the Lilywhites prepare to visit Liverpool in the League Cup tomorrow.

The 20-year-old was given his first competitive start for Spurs in the last round of the competition and impressed in a 5-0 home win over League One outfit Gillingham.

Pochettino has since suggested he will give his youngsters another outing, and some valuable experience, in this week’s fourth-round tie at Anfield.

However, he has recently changed his preferred formation, sacrificing a deep-lying midfield player in switching from a 4-2-3-1 system to a 4-1-4-1 set-up.

That could be seen as bad news for Winks, potentially reducing his opportunities to play in his favoured role as a pass master in front of the back four – and Pochettino has deployed the powerful Victor Wanyama as his sole holding midfielder in the last six games.

However, Pochettino also believes Winks has the necessary strength and attributes to play in front of the defence by himself.

“He can play alone, like we play today,” said the manager. “In the last games we played Victor like a holding midfielder. He (Winks) can play there because he’s strong enough to play in that position alone.

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“I am happy with Harry Winks. I think he’s doing well. The pre-season was good, he showed very good skills. For me he’s a trusted player and, like against Gillingham, he played very well and maybe in the next few weeks he will have the opportunity to play again. It’s always important.

“He’s very young, he’s coming through the academy and he will be a very important player for us in the future.”

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