Antonio Conte confirms Harry Winks will stay at Tottenham while casting doubt on Tanguy Ndombele’s future

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·3-min read
Antonio Conte confirms Harry Winks will stay at Tottenham while casting doubt on Tanguy Ndombele’s future
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  • Antonio Conte
    Antonio Conte
    Italian association football player and manager
  • Harry Winks
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  • Harry Kane
    Harry Kane
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Antonio Conte says Harry Winks will not leave Tottenham in January, having proven himself to be a "reliable player".

But the Spurs head coach cast doubt over Tanguy Ndombele’s future at the club, giving short shrift to a question about the Frenchman’s role in his squad.

When Nuno Espirito Santo was in charge, a dejected Winks was considering his future, but the England international is enjoying a renaissance under Conte and has impressed in the recent matches against Liverpool and Southampton.

"Winksy is playing well," Conte said ahead of the New Year’s Day visit to Watford. "Winks has showed to be a reliable player. And for this reason, Winksy will stay here. I find players that are reliable, and that I can count on them and Winksy showed me that I can count on him."

Ndombele also started in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool, playing over an hour and setting up the opening goal for Harry Kane, but he remained on the bench against West Ham, Crystal Palace and Saints.

Conte’s praise for Winks was in striking contrast to his response when asked about Ndombele’s role in the squad. "He is a midfielder. I think… he is a midfielder," Conte replied.

Ndombele wanted to leave Spurs over the summer and asked if he was eyeing a January exit, Conte replied: "It’s better for me and the club to speak together. And then we will have the situation more clear than now. Now, to speak about players that they can come, or to go, I think is not right, and is not honest."

Conte revealed he had completed his evaluation of the whole Spurs squad and said the next step was to have a meeting with the club – presumably chairman Daniel Levy, managing director Fabio Paratici and director Steve Hitchen – to give his opinion on individual players.

But Conte added that he had known from his first weeks in the job that the overall level of squad needed to improve, as he pressured Levy and Paratici to get to work in January.

Asked if he had finished his evaluating the squad, Conte said: "Yes, I’m sure 100 per cent. I made the evaluation after two months of work with my players. Now the situation is more clear than before.

"I am waiting to have a meeting with the club and then also to give my opinion about the squad and what I think about our situation.

 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

"For sure we need to improve the quality of this squad," he added. "I was sure after seven days, ten days, two weeks about this.

"Then I made evaluations to understand which players I could count on and which players I can’t. For sure, the squad needs to improve in quality but in an important way.

"We’re in the middle and we have to think to build something important. For this reason, I ask for patience and time because now the gap is very large and we need to work a lot, and also to try to build. And also improve the quality of the squad."

Conte said Kane, who has scored in three consecutive League games, was ready to start again at Vicarage Road but he is set to remain without injured quartet Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Romero, Ryan Sessegnon and Steven Bergwijn.

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