Winks and Sissoko: "We’re getting results and that’s most important"
Wed 20 February 2019, 11:18|Tottenham Hotspur
They’re two men on a similar mission. Both suffered World Cup heartache last summer but now, combined, they’re a force to be reckoned with, manning our engine room and driving us on with each passing game.
Harry Winks’ dreams of representing England in Russia were dashed by the ankle problems that plagued him last season and he could only watch on from home as five of his Spurs pals contributed to England’s best run in the competition since 1990.
For Moussa Sissoko, the feeling was probably worse. A Euro 2016 finalist with France, he didn’t make Les Bleus’ 23-man squad last summer and consequently missed out on the ultimate prize in football as Hugo Lloris led his nation to glory in the World Cup Final.
Now, a combination of form and fate - owing to injuries elsewhere in the squad - has brought them together in the centre of our midfield and they haven’t looked back, contributing to some excellent team performances that mean we’re still going strong in the Premier League and in Europe, the latest of which was that stunning 3-0 triumph over Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last week.
Sometimes joined by Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama, Christian Eriksen or young Oliver Skipp, it’s a midfield unit that has been serving us brilliantly of late.
“I really enjoy playing in the team with Moussa,” said Academy graduate Winksy as he looked back on that excellent outing against Dortmund at Wembley. “We complement each other well. We’ve had a partnership for the last couple of months now and it’s been going really well.
"We’re getting results and that’s the most important thing but we both help the team out as much as we possibly can in our own individual ways and I’m just thankful that in the games we’re getting the results we need.”
In total, Harry and Moussa have started 14 of our last 18 games together in all competitions and eight of our last nine in the Premier League. For two of the four matches they didn’t play, Moussa was injured.
“I said a few days ago, I think game by game we are getting a better understanding of each other, so we are doing well, not because of us, but the team,” said Moussa, who at 29 is six-and-a-half years Harry’s elder.
“We are doing well so to play with a player like him is easy. We’ve tried to enjoy the games and I think we show that every time. Harry is very young but he has a lot of qualities and a lot of talent. Now he needs to keep going in the same direction, keep working and keep improving and I’m sure he’ll become a superstar with Spurs.”
While Moussa progressed through the ranks at Toulouse in France and came to us via Newcastle United in 2016, Winksy has been at Spurs man and boy, rising through our Academy age groups to become a key figure in the first team set-up.
Asked if the pair do any work on their partnership away from the matchday environment at Hotspur Way, Harry admitted: “No, nothing specifically together. I guess on the pitch it just comes together well and we perform well. We just like playing alongside each other!”
Having taken a while to adjust following his move from Newcastle, Moussa’s contributions this season have been appreciated by players and fans alike. He’s often left the pitch to a standing ovation and Harry for one is thrilled to see his team-mate getting the plaudits he deserves.
“He’s been phenomenal,” lauded the 23-year-old. “He’s been one of the most key players for us this season because his all-round game is massive. He’s solid off the ball, solid on the ball and he’s an important figure for us.
“He’s had difficult spells over the last couple of seasons with game time, playing in various positions and getting a run of games. We train with him every day, so we know how good he is and we’re all so happy to see him doing so well and being able to show the fans how important he is for us.
"He’s had disappointments he’s had to deal with, difficult spells to get through and that's what takes you to the next level, it toughens you up. If you go through difficult spells you remember them and it’s the character building every player needs to go to the next level.”