Generational change afoot at Tottenham Hotspur, says Harry Winks
Tottenham midfielder, 23, believes they can shed nearly-men's tag
Spurs' first full campaign at their spanking new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is not the only new dawn at the north London club this season, with midfielder Harry Winks admitting his team are undergoing a generational change.
The 23-year-old should know, he is representative of the early embers in the passing of the torch.
The player Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has dubbed "Little Iniesta" was the main beneficiary when Spurs sold 32-year-old midfielder Mousa Dembele to Guangzhou R&F in January.
The academy product played 41 matches last season, the most of his fledgling Tottenham career. Six months on, more of Pochettino's former first-choice stalwarts are following Dembele's footsteps.
Yesterday, 28-year-old right-back Kieran Trippier joined Atletico Madrid for 22 million euros (S$33.6m), while left-back Danny Rose, 29, was left out of the squad that travelled to Singapore for Sunday's International Champions Cup (ICC) clash with Juventus so he could "explore prospective opportunities with other clubs", according to Spurs' website.
Meanwhile, AS Roma have confirmed their interest in signing 30-year-old centre-back Toby Alderweireld - who is in the Lilywhites' ICC squad.
All three defenders started Spurs' Champions League final defeat by Liverpool last month.
Tottenham have since signed 22-year-old French midfielder Tanguy Ndombele for a club-record 62 million euros from Lyon and 18-year-old winger Jack Clarke for £10 million (S$17m) from Leeds United - although he has been loaned back for the rest of the season.
Academy product Kyle Walker-Peters, 22, is expected to build on his 10 appearances last season to fill the void left by Trippier, while Spurs have also been linked with left-sided utility player Ryan Sessegnon, 19, from Fulham and 18-year-old centre-back William Saliba from Saint-Etienne.
When The New Paper asked England midfielder Winks if a generational change is afoot at Tottenham, he agreed.
"I think so, we've got players who are obviously getting older now and players who are coming through the academy," he said during an interview at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, just hours after the team touched down yesterday morning.
"And one thing the manager is very, very good at is finding a balance between both and blooding young players into the side."
Despite the regeneration in Spurs' ranks after their first Champions League final appearance, Winks believes his side are "good enough to win silverware".
They have come agonisingly close in recent times.
In the last five seasons, Spurs have finished second in the EPL, reached the finals of both the League Cup and Champions League and made the semi-finals of the FA Cup twice.
But Winks is not worried about Spurs becoming the EPL's nearly men. He said: "No, that's not a worry... To see how far we've come and how much we've improved over the last five years is incredible...
"The more finals we get to, the more chances we have of winning. I don't thing there is anything we need to change (in terms of approach).
"As long as we try to improve and we keep pushing each other, then we're good enough to win some silverware...
"We've been ready (to win trophies)... Some of the best teams in the world, it's difficult for them to win trophies as well."