The Spurs midfielder should be one of the first names on the team sheet for Gareth Southgate, according to the former Manchester United captain

Harry Winks must be a key player for England if they are to achieve international success, says Gary Neville. 

England finished third in the Nations League finals after beating Switzerland on penalties on Sunday, having lost 3-1 to Netherlands in the semi-finals when Ross Barkley, Fabian Delph and Declan Rice started in midfield.

Winks had been left out of Gareth Southgate’s final squad for the Nations League after struggling with injury of late, but Neville feels the Tottenham man is vital to the future success of the England team.

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Although defensive errors contributed to the defeat by the Dutch, Neville believes that midfielder is the area for improvement and that England do not currently have enough international-calibre players who are as comfortable on the ball as Winks.

“Currently we don’t have enough players who can have that look over their shoulder, see where they are and beat a man,” said the former England international  speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast, hosted by Sky Sports ,

“The hardest thing in football is to beat a man with your back to play, but the very best players can do so.

“The midfield was not ideal against Netherlands. Declan Rice, Fabian Delph, Ross Barkley. That is not an international midfield, whichever way we look at it.

“I know everyone will look at the mistakes playing out from the back, but I think the midfield was the big problem in the game.

“It wasn’t just a case of making bad decisions on the ball. We continuously found our defenders having that first look, that first touch, that second look, that second touch, that third look, that third touch.

“Look at the midfields who have been dominant in recent times in international football. The current French midfield – Matuidi, Pogba, Kante, with Griezmann dropping in. The Spanish midfield with Busquets, Iniesta, Thiago, Xavi. The German midfield of Kroos, Ozil, Schweinsteiger. They’re all rhythm and tempo players, they control the pace of the match.

“Gareth doesn’t have the players at his disposal. Harry Winks is a must moving forward; he was outstanding in the Champions League final, and looked a different level.”

Elsewhere, Neville was full of praise for defenders Harry Maguire and Trent Alexander-Arnold, claiming that both will be hard to dislodge from their respective positions in an England shirt.

“[Alexander-Arnold] holds the right-back shirt for England. I think Gareth Southgate has left the game on Sunday with his coaching staff and thought: ‘I know who my right-back is for next season’.

“We talk about John Stones being good on the ball, I actually think Maguire is the equal of him on the ball. A big statement, maybe, as Stones is seen as the composed, ball-playing centre-back, but I think Maguire is just as good on the ball.”

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