Tottenham's Harry Winks says he modelled his playing style on Barcelona legends Andres Iniesta and Xavi to compensate for his lack of height and strength.
The 22-year-old is blossoming into an important player for the London club, making 23 appearances in all competitions this season as he fills in at various positions in midfield.
The three-time England international has been praised for his technique and passing ability, drawing comparisons to the likes of the Barca pair and Manchester United hero Paul Scholes.
Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino compared the academy graduate to the Barcelona and Spain heroes in September, saying: "His characteristics are perfect. When we talk about midfielders like Xavi and Iniesta, he’s like this type of player".
And Winks admits he has always favoured technique over strength and power, and believes studying the World Cup and European Championship winners has helped him at Spurs.
"I’ve never been blessed with height, strength and power so I’ve had to learn how to play differently from a young age," he told The Mirror. "My game was all based on technique and when I look at players like Xavi and Iniesta they were always players I modelled myself on.
"We’ve always had a philosophy at Spurs to play out from the back, to play with style, to play out from the back and that’s the way I’ve always been brought up and to come into the first team is no different.
"The manager always expects us to play out or at least try. We never compromise our principles, even [against] Barcelona away, it was a difficult test because they are known for their possession.
"We’ve all come through the same way through the club, you get drilled and coached into the academy. You learn how to play for Tottenham, what it means to play for Spurs and you can bring those habits in to the first team.
"When you have players who are familiar with it then there’s no better way. I’m just a Tottenham fan living the dream, basically. To play for Tottenham it was always an absolute dream to have all the kits. Like the kids here today, they dream of playing for Spurs and I’m exactly the same.
"Now to be playing in the first team feels that bit more special because the club is close to my heart and they are the team I’ve been watching since I was a little boy."
Spurs are aiming to win their first major trophy since their League Cup triumph over Chelsea in 2008 - three weeks after Winks' 12th birthday.
Pochettino's men are in contention to end that drought this season as they currently sit third in the Premier League, are into the knockout rounds of the Champions League and through to the last four of the Carabao Cup.
Winks is confident that his side will soon bring home some silverware as he believes they are making progress under the Argentine coach.
"When we won the League Cup it was great, I was actually there at Wembley with my dad, we were in the top tier and we were celebrating like mad when that [extra-time goal] went in," he added. "It was incredible.
"Just going to games from a young age with my dad, watching Tottenham as often as I could, celebrating in my front room, singing and enjoying it, so many fond memories from when I was a kid.
"The team is coming of age. There’s a lot of talk about us needing to win a trophy and, of course, no-one wants to win a trophy more than anyone in the team.
"But our main priority is to just try and improve every season, which we are doing, and hopefully a trophy will come at the end of that as a reward for all the hard work. We work really hard, we are improving and hopefully we can come away with some silverware.
"We’re in a strong position in the league, we’re well placed but we’ve also won a lot of games playing scruffy as well when we’ve not played so well.
“That’s probably what we’ve lacked in he last couple of seasons and yet we’ve ground out results, like against Burnley which was an important win and ultimately all that matters is the three points.
“If we can do it with style and we can do it in a great way then fantastic. But if not, then it’s important to get wins when sometimes it’s difficult."