Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen has lavished praise on his young teammate Harry Winks and believes the promising midfielder can emulate Dele Alli and Harry Kane. Vertonghen, who made his return from an ankle injury in Spurs' 3-0 win over Fulham in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday (19 February) is mightily impressed by Winks' development over the last couple of years and believes he will be a very important player for Tottenham over the next few seasons.

Winks was recently awarded with a new five-year-deal by his boyhood club and is currently establishing himself as a fully fledged member of the senior squad at White Hart Lane.

Vertonghen is aware of the competition the 21-year-old faces in order to get a start in Spurs' engine room but is confident he can cement a place in Mauricio Pochettino's starting line-up.

"I thought he had a really good game against Gent as well, even though the result wasn't as good. You can see how he's improved over the last couple of years – it's unbelievable," Vertonghen told Tottenham's official website. "He's a great player and for me, he can be the next Dele Alli or Harry Kane. There is lots of competition in midfield but he'll be a very good player for Tottenham over the years."

Winks has made 27 appearances for Tottenham and has featured in 17 Premier League matches, though only two of them have been starts. The England youth international will presumably want to see more action on the pitch over the coming months but believes the most important thing right now is having the trust of Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.

"I think it's opportunities and belief," the Tottenham prodigy said. "If you get opportunities, you believe in yourself and you go out there and show it then that's it. The most important thing is the manager's trust – he gives me opportunities, he lets me go out there and play and as young player that's all you want really."

Harry Winks
Winks has broken into Tottenham's first team this season. IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images