Darren Bent was left blown away by Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks in England’s win over Bulgaria and compared the 23-year-old to five-time Premier League winner Michael Carrick.
The former Spurs and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, says that Winks’ constant desire to get the ball moving forward was a huge factor in the Three Lions’ comprehensive 6-0 win on Monday night, insisting he performed better than West Ham counterpart Declan Rice.
Winks has had to bide his time on the international stage, with just four caps to his name so far, having seen the likes of Rice, Jordan Henderson and Ross Barkley prefered by manager Gareth Southgate.
However, Bent says that the Tottenham man’s attacking instincts set him apart from the like of Rice, suggesting that he is in a similar mould to former Manchester United star Carrick.
Bent told Football Insider: “I’m telling you now, if I’m picking a team – I like Declan Rice, I think he’s a very, very good young footballer – but for me Harry Winks is better, simple as that.
“Rice is better in the challenge, I’ll give you that, can really put a challenge in, but if you’re talking about someone similar to say a Michael Carrick – gets on the ball and his first pass to look for is forward. That is massive because that puts teams on the back foot.
“Against the Czech Republic, a lot of Declan Rice’s passes were sideways and backwards – that doesn’t really help get anywhere. Harry Winks, as soon as he got on the ball, bang, first pass forward. Bang, forward, forward, forward. That makes a massive difference.”
Carrick won five Premier League titles, a Champions League, an FA Cup and three League Cups during his career at Old Trafford, having also played for West Ham and Tottenham before his move to the north west.
Winks has played 10 times for Spurs so far this season, appearing in all but one starting XI in their Premier League and Champions League games.