Speaking on talkSPORT, he said: “Declan Rice and Harry Winks are fighting it out for that holding midfield role. I like Winks.
“I like my holding midfield players to pass the ball forward, I don’t like sideways and backwards.
“Harry Winks does that better than anyone. I think he does it better than Declan Rice.”
Winks and Rice are certainly two different types of defensive midfielders, and it’s fair to assume that many people would take a similar stance to Bent, depending on their preferential style of play. So far this season Winks has averaged a pass success rate of 90.8% compared to Rice’s 89.8%, as per Whoscored, and has made more passes per game too. Furthermore, he has made 0.7 key passes per match to Rice’s 0.3. In that sense, he has the beating of Rice. But if you prefer your defensive midfielders to, well, defend, then it has to be the West Ham man every time. With twice as many tackles and interceptions per game as Winks so far this term, he is a much more reliable and dependable option in front of the back four. Ultimately it will come down to how Southgate wants to set up, but don’t be surprised to see the pair chopped and changed as time goes by.