Harry Winks is on the cusp of experiencing something he did not even dare dream about when he was growing up as a Tottenham supporter.
The midfielder has overcome a groin injury, which needed surgery and has kept him out since early April, and looks set to be involved in Spurs’ Champions League final encounter against Liverpool in Madrid.
Winks, whose family are all lifelong Tottenham fans, played a small part in a big European night for Spurs nine years ago, when he was a flag-bearer ahead of the 2010 Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid.
The prospect of playing a much more significant role in the Spanish capital is something he is still getting his head around.
“Being a Spurs fan makes this 10 times more special for me,” Winks said.
“To be part of a team that has got to the Champions League final with Tottenham is something, honestly, I would never have dreamt of doing. To have the opportunity to say that.
“But to have been a part of the team and to have played as many games as I have done in the Champions League, to be part of this amazing side and this incredible era for Tottenham, honestly, it’s a true privilege.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 31, 2019
“I am humbled to have the opportunity to do that and if we can go all the way then we’ll make history and it will be fantastic.
“It’s something that we believe we can do as well.”
With Spurs in his blood and having joined them at just five years old, Winks has got a pretty good insight into what this occasion means to the club.
He has been around in the team for three successive Champions League campaigns, but it was not always that good when he was watching from the stands.
“It’s my club. I’ve known the club since I was five years old, it’s the only club I’ve ever played for,” he added.
“To be part of a Champions League final with Tottenham, it feels crazy to say it. It hasn’t really sunk in.
“The only thing you can say about Spurs is that over the years, we’ve been a bit mixed.
“We’ve had seasons where we’ve been excellent and others where we have underperformed. Since the gaffer has come in, he’s made us a solid top-four side and one to be taken very, very seriously in Europe.
“As a Spurs fan, growing up from a little boy, I’ve seen that transition. What the manager has done to the club and how far he has taken everyone, not only as players but as people, honestly, it’s incredible to have seen.
“I’ve been there, I’ve watched them from the stands at White Hart Lane and been to the games when I was a kid, so I know exactly how the transition of Spurs has been, and the growth the club has had.
“And it’s only going to go one way in my opinion, and that’s even higher and better.”