Tottenham Hotspur are seemingly stuck in a rut. A string of uninspiring performances characterised by a lack of expansive attacking play and an assortment of individual defensive mistakes has resulted in a growing sense of hopelessness in Spurs supporters. It seems fanatical to suggest that a manager who has guided his team to the Carabao Cup final, as well as practically having one foot in the last 16 of the Europa League is working in fear of his job. However, there are many calls for Jose Mourinho to be relieved of his duties.
Mourinho must take some credit for his handling of Spurs youngsters. The Special One has handed first-team debuts to Harvey White (19), Dane Scarlett (16) and Alfie Devine (16), as well as sending the likes of Ryan Sessegnon (20) and Troy Parrott (19) out on loan deals to increase their playing times. A player who has thrived from his loan move is Oliver Skipp. After strong pre-season showings for the Lilywhites, Skipp penned a one-year loan deal with relegated Premier League side Norwich City.
The 20-year-old has hit the ground running for the Canaries, racking up 32 appearances in the league so far and establishing himself as a mainstay in the heart of their midfield. Norwich currently sit seven points clear at the top of the Championship table, displaying form that is in no small part down to Skippy’s consistent displays.
These performances have gained plaudits from Norwich fans and the more fervent Spurs fans alike; not to mention Norwich boss Daniel Farke. A recent Football.London report documented the latter’s obvious high regard for the youngster. “He’s a top player and a top character”. Farke went on to emphasise his expectations of Skipp and his desire for him to keep progressing. “This says a lot about how much I rate him and how much I value him, I don’t want to praise him too much in public, it’s more like each and every day I keep on criticising him”. These comments will excite Spurs fans with the prospect of Skipp being driven to reach the heights that he is considered capable of.
Norwich fans have also been waxing lyrical about the England Under 21 international. With their twitter following labelling Skipp as one of the best loan signings the club has ever made. Skipp seems to scoop the Twitter man of the match award after every Norwich fixture. Admittedly, this may be partly the consequence of Spurs fans hijacking the polls, however his consistent nominations speak volumes of his performances.
For those unaware of of Skipp’s attributes, he is a versatile midfielder who flourishes in a holding position. He is a consistently talented passer, topping Norwich’s passing statistics this season. His vision has been on display for the Championship leaders and he has been unlucky not to provide any assists so far this season.
His composure and confidence on the ball have provided Norwich with a calming presence in possession. These attributes suggest the mindset of a veteran midfielder. Skippy is equally adept at carrying the ball at speed or picking an incisive pass, meaning he can effectively progress the ball through the defensive lines whilst under pressure. Add his impressive defensive positioning, work-rate and burst of pace and you’ve got a midfielder who truly fits his billing as an all-rounder.
Skipp is not renowned for his goal-scoring prowess. He netted his first senior goal in Norwich’s 3-1 win away at Birmingham City on Tuesday night. Although it is not a crucial requirement for his position, it would be the icing on the cake to see Skippy add another feather to his cap and chip in with more goal contributions. With a motivator like Farke demanding improvements in his game, this is likely something the Spurs academy graduate will be working on.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will likely be one of the biggest admirers of Skipp’s success in Norfolk. With Sport Witness having claimed that Harry Winks has his heart set on a summer switch to La Liga, Skipp represents a ready-made replacement that will not break the bank. Levy is known for his financial prudence, and the recall of Skipp should provide the Lilywhites with a quality youngster in the centre of the park, as well as funds to address the more pressing issues in the team.
Spurs fans, would you like to see Skipp return to N17 in the summer to learn from Tanguy Ndombele and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and continue his development at the top level?