Harry Winks has stressed his desire to play more regularly after seeing his chances limited at Tottenham, but says the January transfer window is not in his thoughts.
The midfielder has endured a frustrating 18 months at his boyhood club as former boss Jose Mourinho and now Nuno Espirito Santo have limited his game time.
Winks, who was in Gareth Southgate’s England plans just over a year ago, played in Spurs’ Europa Conference League defeat to Vitesse Arnhem on Thursday, but has had just 61 minutes of Premier League action this season.
The 25-year-old decided in the summer to stay and fight for his place but, despite his passion for the club, says he needs minutes.
“Listen, I love Tottenham, I’ve always made that clear, but I want to play football,” he said. “And I want to play regular football.
“The only way to play your best football, get momentum is when you’re playing regularly. Listen, I’m giving my all for the club, of course I am.
“They stuck by me, I stuck by them – and I want to play for Tottenham. But it is difficult when you get matches here and there, confidence is low and you don’t get that run of games. It is difficult.
“Listen, I’m not thinking that far ahead (to January). I’ve got a lot of games left to go to try and fight for the club. It’s important we all stay in the same mindset, the same thought process and we see.
“There’s a long way to go, still two months to go and it’s about knuckling down, working as hard as I can and having no regrets.”
Winks will speak to boss Nuno about his plight at some point, but wants to pick the right moment.
“It’s got to be the right time for me,” he said. “The manager has a lot of games to think about. They’re coming thick and fast and I don’t want to stand in the way of preparation, and stand in the way of the other players in the team.
“When the time is right I’ll have a conversation but right now it’s important that the team and manager focus on the next game and don’t get any distractions from me.”
Winks was part of the Spurs team that lost 1-0 to Vitesse as Nuno made 11 changes from the side that beat Newcastle last weekend.
It was his first outing since a European tie with NS Mura on September 30 and he says the lack of action is a contributing factor to his poor form.
“When players are not playing well and you only have yourself to blame, it’s difficult,” he said. “I want to be at my best, firing and playing really well. It comes with games.
“But ultimately it comes with me performing on the pitch when I get the opportunity. If I’m not doing that, then I only have myself to blame.
“I’m man enough to admit that I need to improve in certain areas. On the contrary, I need to play games and the only way to do that is getting minutes and getting that sharpness back.”
With his game-time limited to cup competitions, Winks cannot help but feel he is a second-string player.
“It is tough. We’re meant to be a team,” he said. “It’s meant to be competition. It’s meant to be competitive. Everybody should be fighting for weekend games and it’s difficult.
“Motivation should be everybody fighting for the same cause and the same thing. It’s difficult. But when we go out on that pitch and we’re not playing in the [first] team, we’ve got to put that right, make a point and show the manager we should be playing in the team.
“And when we lose in the way that we did, we don’t do that. It’s down to us but there’s a lot of factors behind that.”