WHEN an injury crisis struck Tottenham’s team ahead of Barcelona’s visit to London earlier this month, Mauricio Pochettino had no hesitation in turning to youth.
Pochettino is known for exactly that: giving youth a chance, polishing potential until it shines — and 18-year-old Oliver Skipp is next on the production line.
Oliver Skipp is expected to be Tottenham’s next academy product[/caption]
In the team that night was Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier, Ben Davies and Harry Winks — all of which Pochettino has progressed.
Skipp’s opportunity to watch from the sidelines came due to the absence of midfielders Mousa Dembele, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen.
The latter is a BIG fan of Skipp.
Christian Eriksen raved about the defensive midfielder after pre-season training[/caption]
Skipp has shown a courageousness when in the first-team squad, Eriksen said[/caption]
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After a handful of academy players trained with the first-team in pre-season, Eriksen said: “All of the young players have really shown great character.
“A lot of them have trained with us a few times, guys like Luke Amos and Anthony Georgiou.
“But I think the guy who’s the youngest is probably Skippy, who’s really taken the game in his hands and is trying to do his thing. He’s been very good.”
Eriksen believes Skipp, who has played for England Under-18s, Under-17s and Under-16s, has the character to become a big star.
“First of all, his courage,” the Dane said. “He is not scared to get the ball, he is not scared to go forward and he is not scared to tackle.
Skipp has captained the Under-18s side[/caption]
He is a versatile midfielder who can also play centre-back[/caption]
“He’s an all-round midfielder. And I think with a lot of training, as he gets older, he will be there.”
Skipp is taking a giant leap at Tottenham.
Last season, he was the star in the Under-18s team and was expected to make the natural transition to Under-23s – but his promotion has been swift.
In August, he was rewarded with a professional contract that runs until 2021 with Spurs likening Skipp to Eric Dier.
Academy boss John McDermott said: “Oliver Skipp has shown guile and quality in possession but also a real desire and toughness out of possession.”
Skipp signed a three-year contract with Spurs in the summer[/caption]
Pochettino is expected to give him a chance this season[/caption]
The cameo in the first team squad against Barca clearly gave Skipp even more confidence.
In a 4-0 win against Gillingham in the Checkatrade Trophy, the versatile midfielder captained the team.
He started as the defensive screen in midfield before roaming forward and setting the tempo for the third goal, before finishing the game in a back-three.
Pochettino knows potential when he sees it, and it won’t be long before this youngster takes a hop, Skipp and jump into the first-team.