Harry Winks has admitted his Tottenham career had a “slim chance” of succeeding until Antonio Conte came to the club.
The 26-year-old, who came through the ranks at Spurs having joined when he was five, was ready to leave his boyhood club after being frozen out under Jose Mourinho and Nuno Espirito Santo.
But the Italian has given Winks a chance in midfield and announced early on into his stay that Winks would be staying with the club in January.
He has started the last six games and is enjoying life at Spurs again.
“The manager’s come in and given me a chance, given me confidence again,” he said, having played 90 minutes in Spurs’ 3-2 loss to Southampton on Wednesday.
“Every game I play, every training session I have that hunger to try to impress him and do everything I can to try to improve.
“Like I said before, my career at Tottenham was probably dead and buried but he’s come in and given me an opportunity to show myself and prove myself.
“And for that, every time I get an opportunity I really want to impress the manager and show myself and repay that faith he’s shown in me and put it back to me.
“I wouldn’t say it was completely dead and buried, but chances at Tottenham were looking slim. I wasn’t getting opportunities and it might have looked like I would need to leave the club.
“But as I said, the new manager’s come in and given everyone an equal opportunity, which is all I wanted under the last two managers.
“And now it’s down to me to take that. So I wouldn’t say it was as strong as that but it was looking slim because the facts were that I wasn’t playing as much as I wanted to.”
Winks was part of the side that went down to a damaging 3-2 loss to Southampton on Wednesday, who scored two goals in two minutes late on to earn a deserved three points.
Spurs missed the chance to move within a point of the top four with games in hand as a Jan Bednarek own goal and a Son Heung-min effort either side of Armando Broja’s strike had put Spurs in a winning position until Mohamed Elyounoussi and Che Adams headed home quickfire James Ward-Prowse crosses.
“It was a poor performance and result,” Winks added. “When we’re not playing well but leading, we need to find a way of not conceding.
“I wouldn’t say it was a wake up call. We haven’t been getting ahead of ourselves. We know it’s a process.
“We’re playing in the Premier League against top opposition. They’re a top side, they’re strong and aggressive and we have to be at our best to beat them.
“Unfortunately we were poor. We let them play, we let them suffocate us and it wasn’t a good enough performance.”
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