With 20-year-old Harry and 19-year-old Josh both away on England youth international duty this week – Harry with England Under-21s for the first time and Josh part of the Under-20s squad in Continental Cup action in South Korea – we take a look at how the pair recalled the first time they ever met senior Spurs players and hear their thoughts on their progress at the Club so far…
You’re both Spurs fans – how and when did you first get the Tottenham bug?
Harry Winks: “From my dad, as early as I can remember. He gave me a Spurs shirt at the age of three and all the photos I’ve seen are of me just running around in a Tottenham kit. I remember signing properly when I was about seven or eight years old, when I really went into the academy and my memories are brilliant of that because obviously as a Spurs fan, playing for Spurs and wearing the shirt was just special for me.”
Tell us about your memories of when you first started training at Spurs…
Josh Onomah: “When I first heard (that I’d be signing) I thought it was a joke, I sort of laughed it off until I actually had my first day here – that’s when I started to believe that I could play for Tottenham one day. It was a dream come true.”
Harry: “We used to train at White Hart Lane above a ball court. We used to train at seven or eight o’clock, something like that. One time, the first team must have had an away game or something because they came back to White Hart Lane and I remember bumping into Fredi Kanoute and Jamie Redknapp. I think my dad was there at the time and he had a chat with Jamie Redknapp as well. For me at that time, just seeing those players – wow, I was just star struck! As an eight-year-old boy, I couldn’t believe it.”
Josh: “The first time I properly met a professional footballer was Dimitar Berbatov – he came to my school when I was in year four. It was one of those football classes in PE where we were just messing about and he joined in with the session. I thought that was good from him and he gave us advice. That advice helped me, so I thank him for that.”
Do you remember your first time training with the first team?
Harry: “Yes, I do. I was about 15 or 16, it was around that time. Previously I’d seen training a lot. I think Edgar Davids was here, he was training, I remember being a young lad at the time and I just couldn’t believe it – Edgar was quite experienced and I remember him literally just bossing training. He was something else!”
Josh: “I think I was 14 at the time and there were five (senior players involved) – Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Emmanuel Adebayor, Tom Huddlestone and David Bentley. That was the first time. I was on Bale’s team.”
What are your memories of your Premier League debut?
Josh: “It was around this time last season against Aston Villa. We were 2-1 up, I came on and we scored another goal to make it 3-1. That was just a dream come true because when I was young I used to watch the Premier League and I always used to fantasise about being there one day. That day it finally happened. The gaffer said to me: ‘Josh, go out there and enjoy yourself. We know you’re a good player, just do what you do.’ When the gaffer says that to you it gives you great confidence.”
And, Harry, you started a senior game for the first time against Gillingham in the EFL Cup this season…
Harry: “I was just so excited to go out there and make my first start for the club. All the academy boys that were playing – it was brilliant for us all.”
Josh: “We played well, Cameron (Carter-Vickers) played well and I scored so it was a good moment for us really.”
What do you think of the pathway you’ve taken through the club to get to this point?
Harry: “Everyone who has come through the academy and done so well – for us, it only inspires us to get to their level and having a manager like the gaffer we have here, he gives us opportunities, he has faith in us to put us in the mixer and be part of that healthy competition. It’s brilliant and, for us, we need to work hard.”