Sky Sports pundit and Arsenal legend Paul Merson believes Harry Winks must start against Croatia on Sunday in England’s UEFA Nations League decider.
Winks started in England’s 3-0 victory over the USA on Thursday and was a typically reassuring presence in the middle of the park. The Tottenham man provided balance to a midfield that otherwise would have lacked a creative passing spark, leading for some to call for him to start against Croatia.
Leading the calls for Winks to start is former Arsenal man Paul Merson, who when speaking to Sky Sports, explained why he thinks Winks should start in midfield for the Three Lions, believing he will nullify the problems England encountered in their World Cup semi-final clash with the Croats.
“In midfield, I would probably play Harry Winks with Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier as one thing we are not going to do is pass them to death. So if Winks is in the team, he will keep the ball – he will not do anything extraordinary – and the longer we keep the ball, the more the game will open up and the more chances we will get.
“And that is what we need to do and Winks will link things up with his neat passing. He will not spray 60-yard balls, but we need to keep the ball. We cannot keep giving the ball away, as that was what happened in the World Cup semi-final.”
Despite the criticism the Nations League has received, Merson believes winning the group should be of the utmost importance to England, for the future of the national team.
“You have to make a statement [by winning the group] and that is the plan. We have to be planning for the next World Cup. And to win the World Cup, we have to be playing against top teams.” He insisted.