MONTREAL — The only sightseeing Luis Binks has done since moving to Montreal was the Olympic Stadium’s turf field. Despite being thousands of miles from home, the 18-year-old center back isn’t too interested in being a tourist.
Rather, with two games under the belt, one in MLS and the other in the Concacaf Champions League, Binks is making serious strides after signing Feb. 18 from Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.
“I came here to play football, I didn’t come here to do anything else,” Binks recently told MLSSoccer.com. “Obviously I had to work hard [and] it wasn’t gifted to me. The two games I had in preseason, I tried to show what I’m about and I have to continue to play well because nothing is a given.”
Following the Impact’s 2-1 win over the New England Revolution on Saturday, head coach Thierry Henry remained cautious regarding his young defender. The Frenchman agreed that Binks deserved praise, but ample work also lies ahead.
“He’s young and we need to be careful with young players,” Henry said. “I’ve seen guys in this league where people were talking a lot about them and they disappeared after a year or so.”
The Tottenham academy product means business, however, and is adamant that he hopped across the pond to thrive. He intends to help Montreal win a second straight Canadian Championship, return to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and earn league-wide recognition.
“Personally, there’s a few goals that I’ve set. Obviously, I want to play well in this league,” Binks said. “Rookie of the Year is up for a youngster, so hopefully if I keep playing well, who knows.”
Binks reflected on his time at Tottenham under manager Jose Mourinho, who took over the 2019 UEFA Champions League finalists after Mauricio Pochettino was let go in November. While Binks didn’t make his first-team debut, he featured extensively for the club’s U-23 team.
“Since Mourinho had come in, I was a lot more involved,” the England youth international said. “Over Christmas, I was in while everyone else was off. There were a few that would come in and I was one of them to train with the first team.”
Binks conceded that leaving North London for MLS surprised some back home. But he was familiar with what MLS entailed, having followed Steven Gerrard, his favorite player, during his move from Liverpool to the LA Galaxy in 2015.
“Some could see why I’ve done it, but some were saying, ‘Why has he done that?’” Binks said. “I’ve got no regrets about coming to play first-team football at the age of 18. It’s better than playing Under-23 football in front of, I don’t know, 200 people.”
Instead, the England youth international enjoyed playing before over 21,000 fans for his MLS debut last weekend against New England.
“I’m happy with my decision,” Binks said. “I’m working under the coaching staff, playing with players that are so experienced in Europe and MLS. It’s a no-brainer to come here, really.”