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'I cannot put it into words' - Winks on return, Hugo, Toby on PSG

Posted on 23 July 2017  - 15:00

Victory over PSG in our first International Champions Cup (ICC) match on tour in the USA meant a lot on different levels - and for one player, an appearance off the bench in the second half meant the world.

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Harry Winks is the player, and as we enjoyed a fine victory with two spectacular goals in front of our fans in the USA, Harry's introduction on the hour represented his first senior match action since a suffering an ankle injury at Burnley on April 1.

In flying form at the time, the memory of the pain etched on Harry's face as he was stretchered off that day at Turf Moor remains vivid, but the Academy graduate who climbed step by step towards 33 appearances in all competitions before his injury last season has now taken his first steps on the pitch back to full recovery.

Harry played his part as we ran out 4-2 winners against the French giants at Orlando's Camping World Stadium, a win highlighted by two wonderful strikes from Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld. Eric Dier and Harry Kane completed the scoring.

Asked to sum up his feelings, Harry said: "I can’t put it into words. It’s been a long time coming and it’s been amazing to return, it really has.

"It was exciting to get back out there against good opposition. I was a little nervous about how my ankle would hold up. That’s always in the back of your mind when you come back from injury but I've worked hard with the help of the medical team and when you go out there, the focus is on winning the match and that’s all I was thinking about."

Here's what Harry, Toby and skipper Hugo Lloris had to say about the win...

Harry Winks

On the game...
"PSG are a great team, top players and in tough conditions, I thought the lads were excellent. It was our first proper pre-season match away from the training ground so it was a good test for us and we did well."

On the conditions...
"It’s tough, very tough, hot and humid but that helps you get fitter easier and it’s good to test yourself in those conditions, if you can do it in tough conditions out here it will make it easier when we get back to England."

Below: Celebrations with Toby after his fine goal made it 3-2 against PSG

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Toby Alderweireld

On his goal, a 25-yard arrow into the corner...
"I think when there is space you have to go and when there is an opportunity to shoot, I have to shoot and try to hit the target. Of course, you pass if someone is in a better position but this time I shot and scored a good goal, so I’m happy."

On Christian's 30-yarder into the top corner...
"I think my goal was better! No, it was an unbelievable goal. It starts high and then it drops. He has it in his locker and when he gets the chance to shoot, he has to shoot."

On the game and coming back from going behind early...
"It’s important to have that mental strength and we’ve showed it in the last two seasons. Next time, we have to score first! We have things to improve on but other things went well as well. We scored four goals, so that’s very was good. For us, it was all about running, most of the guys played 45 minutes so we give everything and run, run, run so our conditioning gets better, better, better."

On the fans in Orlando...
"It’s unbelievable. That’s why we make the trip, to see our fans here in America and it’s great to get a victory for them."

Below: Hugo waves to fans at the Camping World Stadium

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Hugo Lloris

Overall thoughts from the skipper...
"We had a sloppy start unfortunately, we don’t find excuses because in the changing room we said between ourselves we needed to start sharp and aggressive but when we conceded the goal, we had a great reaction. Christian’s goal was fantastic and helped us come back into the game. The game changed in the second half with the sending off of (Kevin) Trapp but that’s part of the game and we showed character because we stepped up our level. We showed maturity and that’s important. As I said, the game turned on the red card but it’s never easy against 10 men, sometimes the game can turn against you because you then play too easy but that was never the case. We were patient, had chances to score and stayed focused right until the end."