A young English midfielder playing in the Champions League holding his own against a Spanish opponent boasting the best midfield in the world.
For Harry Winks read Jack Wilshere.
For Spurs read Arsenal.
For Real Madrid read Barcelona.
For Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric read Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets.
For 17 August 2017 read 16 February 2011.
At the age of 21 Winks put in a performance against Madrid that vindicated Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to throw him into the lion’s den at the Bernabeu.
Wilshere’s baptism of fire came at an even younger age, when the Arsenal man was only 19.
Their passing stats were both exceptional and eerily similar.
Winks made 45 passes and finished the game with a 91% passing success rate.
Wilshere just edged out his north London rival, making one more pass and finishing the game with a 93.5% passing success rate.
But you can’t rely on stats to tell the whole story (luckily for Modric).
What really made Winks’ performance an eye-catching one was the fact he was the sole creative presence in the heart of Spurs’ midfield.
Eric Dier dropped back into what was essentially a sweeper role to keep an eye on Cristiano Ronaldo, while Moussa Sissoko doubled up with Serge Aurier to limit Isco’s involvement in the game.
Christian Eriksen played out on the left for most of the game leaving Harry Kane and Fernando Llorente pushed up against Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos.
Winks became Spurs’ heartbeat.
But Wilshere’s performance was no less integral.
Time stood still on several occasions when a drop of the shoulder got Wilshere out of trouble.
You’d have forgiven Busquets for checking Wilshere’s boots for a piece of string, the way the Englishman maintained control in suffocatingly tight situations.
But there’s one thing we haven’t talked about yet- the result.
Wilshere went up against the best midfield in the world and finished on the winning side, with Arsenal ending the night 2-1 victors.
Winks gave everything but had to make do with a very respectable point.
Now what does the future hold?
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Fast forward six years and, while Xavi has retired, the man he tipped to reign supreme in England’s midfield now finds himself all too familiar with Arsenal’s bench.
The man who ran rings around Iniesta and Busquets couldn’t get past Dan Gosling at Bournemouth last season.
So while Winks’ display against Madrid would have made plenty of people stand up and take note, not least Gareth Southgate, there’s plenty still do be done.
Ironically, Winks and Wilshere could well be in direct competition when it comes to winning a place in England’s 2018 World Cup squad.
Let battle commence.
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