Harry Winks has become an instant Tottenham hero after his goal after West Ham, says Harry Kane
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Harry Kane says his fellow academy product Harry Winks has become an instant hero at Tottenham after the 20-year-old midfielder scored his first goal for the club in Saturday’s dramatic victory over London rivals West Ham.
Spurs trailed 1-0 at the break at White Hart Lane but Winks, who has progressed through the Lilywhites’ youth ranks and was making his first Premier League start, levelled at close range.
And, although Manuel Lanzini re-established West Ham’s lead with a penalty, Kane struck in the 89th and 91st minutes to secure the unlikeliest of victories.
“He (Winks) was outstanding, I thought he was our best player,” said Kane. “He controlled the game, he broke up play, he obviously scored. Everyone is buzzing for him.
“He works so hard. I was in a similar situation and you have to be patient for your chance. The gaffer called upon him this time and he was ready to take it.
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“He’s repaid the gaffer’s faith in him and he’s instantly become a hero in a big London derby.
“It was an incredible end. It looked disappointing [for a while]. I looked at the clock after about 86 or 87 minutes thinking ‘ooff, it’s been a disappointing night’.
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“Of course you always have that belief you’ll get another chance, maybe get a draw, but I think we’d have been lying if we said on 88 minutes we were looking to win the game.
“It was an amazing atmosphere, an amazing night for us and great personally for me to get a couple of goals, but the most important thing was the three points.
“I feel fit. I don’t think I played the best I’ve ever played but it’s what I’m there for - to put the ball in the back of the net - and I was happy to do that.”
West Ham’s late agony is likely to be their last experience at White Hart Lane as Tottenham prepare to move to a new stadium, and Kane continued: “We knew it was a London derby, a massive game.
“We would have been devastated to lose, or draw to be honest. We wanted to put a statement down, with other teams dropping points around us. The way it happened we couldn’t have imagined, but that’s what football’s about.
“West Ham made it tough for us. I don’t think we played great, we can play a lot better than we did. We didn’t create as many chances as we would have liked, but we dug deep and that’s what London derbies are all about. Sometimes you have to crawl over the finish line, somehow get the win, and we did that.”
Spurs went into the clash against West Ham on the back of a seven-match winless run, having also failed to score from open play in their last six outings.
They looked set to suffer another damaging setback on Saturday but the late turnaround has suddenly transformed the mood, and Kane is feeling much more confident about the next two games.
“It’s massive,” said Kane. “We’ve started an important week, with Monaco and Chelsea [ahead]. If we’d lost on Saturday it would have been difficult to get going again for that game on Tuesday night.
“Now it’s the complete opposite – we’re buzzing, we can’t wait to play again. Coming off the pitch, we’re full of momentum and we’ll take that straight into Tuesday and hopefully win there.
“Coming in after a game like that, everyone’s buzzing. There aren’t many nights like that, especially in a London derby.
“But we’re not stupid as well. We know we didn’t play as well as we would have liked, so we won’t get too carried away. We’ll look at the things we could do better for Tuesday night.”
Tottenham have had to adapt to two different systems in the last two games, with manager Mauricio Pochettino employing a 3-4-3 formation against Arsenal before the international break and a 4-4-2 diamond set-up against West Ham on Saturday – and Kane is happy to be flexible.
“It’s important,” said the striker. “The gaffer has made it clear that for some games you have to switch it up and we have to be prepared for that. We do shape work during the week on what we’re going to play, and we’re ready.
“We’ve got a versatile bunch of players - we can play with wing-backs, we can play with four at the back, we can play with two up front and I think that’s important.
“We changed the system halfway through the first half on Saturday. Obviously the subs came on and made a big impact and it makes a big difference for us.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs