Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks has suggested a large number of Premier League players are opposed to playing games behind closed doors.

Over recent days, reports have emerged detailing aspects of 'Project Restart' – the fledgling plans to restart England's top flight at neutral venues without fans present, ideally by mid-June as the game aims to return despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But England international Winks feels any games would be significantly diminished without the presence of supporters.

"It's a possibility of course and that could happen. It's probably something that not every Premier League player wants to do," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"It's a strange situation not having the fans there. That's what makes football, that's what makes the atmosphere.

"It's what everybody plays for and lives for, it's for the fans. When you can't hear chanting, when you can't hear the crowd it's going to be a strange situation."

Winks experienced something similar when Croatia were forced to play their Nations League home game against England behind closed doors in 2018 and he was not a fan.

He said: "We had it last season with Croatia away and it was a very strange situation to be involved in.

"It's not something that I like and I know a lot of players feel the same way. It's not something that anybody really wants to do but if it's the necessary action that's got to be done, it has to be done."

Spurs captain Hugo Lloris concurs with Winks but also feels a compromise will have to be reached due to the economic pressures that the lockdown is placing upon clubs.

"It will be weird wherever it happens. Football is not a closed-door sport," he told L'Equipe.

"Without spectators, it is not the same sport. This is not how I see football. We are here together, to share our emotions. We all want full stadiums, with atmosphere, fans, colour and songs.

"But we must take the context into consideration. There are major economic issues that need to be understood at the level of clubs and federations. Everyone has to find the right compromise between health above all else and the need to finish this season."

Jose Mourinho recalled Toby Alderweireld and Harry Winks for his first Tottenham game against West Ham at the London Stadium, but there was no place in the starting XI for Christian Eriksen.

The former Manchester United manager made three changes to the Spurs side that drew against Sheffield United before the international break, the final match of Mauricio Pochettino's five-year reign.

Alderweireld, who is out of contract at the end of the season, returned to the heart of defence, meaning Eric Dier moved into midfield.

Mourinho's shock appointment at Tottenham led to questions over how the lightly built, ball-playing Winks would be used but the England international got an early chance to impress, as did Lucas Moura.

Pochettino used Lucas sparingly before being dismissed on Tuesday, the Brazilian having started only four Premier League fixtures this season prior to Saturday's clash.

Moussa Sissoko and Giovani Lo Celso headed back to the bench, joining Eriksen among the substitutes, while Tanguy Ndombele was not involved in the squad due to a groin issue.

West Ham, meanwhile, recalled Angelo Ogbonna and Andriy Yarmolenko as they sought to snap a seven-match winless streak in all competitions.

Gareth Southgate claimed England have emerged stronger after working through the bust-up between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez and ending their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with emphatic victories.

After being left out of the squad for England's 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro following his behind-the-scenes clash with Gomez, Sterling was restored to Southgate's side for their campaign-closing 4-0 victory over Kosovo and was involved in goals scored by Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford.

Southgate praised the way his players pulled together and indicated he is happy with the progress they are making with the European Championship seven months away.

"You have to work through any difficulties you might have," Southgate told ITV. "The whole group have done that really well and I think we've come out of this stronger than we started it, quite frankly.

"We're further ahead in being more settled in the group and the way we want to play and players understanding our principles of play.

"There is really good competition and we wanted to learn a few things tonight, that we certainly did."

Harry Winks opened the scoring at Stadiumi Fadil Vokrri with his first international goal - a feat that was matched by second-half substitute Mason Mount, who scored in stoppage time.

Winks admitted England's defensive lapses allowed Kosovo to compete, while underlining his commitment to the team regardless of whether Southgate plays him in a deep-lying role or as an attacking midfielder.

"I like to be able to play both positions," Winks said on ITV. "I consider myself someone who can be in that pivot [position] and be in that eight if needed as well.

"There's always moments we need to improve on. It was the same in the Montenegro game, we gave away a few sloppy chances and we need to work on that because, come the Euros, we'll come up against stronger opposition than them and they might punish us."

Kane, whose strike took his tally to 12 goals in qualifying, echoed his Tottenham team-mate's comments, while reflecting upon England's strong finish to the game.

"We went through a few spells where they had a bit of pressure," he told ITV. "But we soaked it up and towards the end, when the spaces started to open up, it was clinical and 4-0 is a great result.

"We know we can improve. Tonight was difficult: the pitch was poor and it was hard to play, and there's always going to be little mistakes.

"When we play better teams we've got to make sure we're on it."

 

Harry Winks and Mason Mount scored their first senior international goals as England rounded off Euro 2020 qualifying with a 4-0 victory in Kosovo, where Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford were also among the goals.

Tottenham's Winks provided the finish to a rare moment of first-half quality, although his combination with Declan Rice and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield did not always deliver the cohesion England need in their engine room.

Kane added a second 11 minutes from time and substitute Rashford swept home four minutes later.

Mount's late strike added gloss to the scoreline but Bernard Challandes' impressive Kosovo side can still reach the European Championship via a play-off place secured by virtue of their Nations League performance.

After matching England for long spells at Stadiumi Fadil Vokrri they will be confident of making it count.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino made four changes from the side that beat Red Star Belgrade in midweek for Sunday's visit to Premier League leaders Liverpool.

Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld, Christian Eriksen and Harry Winks were all recalled to the starting XI as the Spurs boss sought to mastermind a first league win since September 28.

Jan Vertonghen, Tanguy Ndombele and Ben Davies were dropped to the substitutes' bench, while Erik Lamela – who scored in the Champions League win over Red Star – missed out with injury.

"[Lamela] suffered a small problem with his thigh yesterday in training," Pochettino explained. "This morning, he was checked by the doctor and the decision was made that he couldn't be involved. We hope it's not a big issue."

Son Heung-min was making his 200th appearance for Spurs at Anfield, supporting Harry Kane in attack.

Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, made three changes from the Liverpool side that beat Genk 4-1 in the Champions League, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum all returning.

James Milner, Naby Keita and two-goal hero Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all dropped to the bench.

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