After several unproductive transfer windows, Tottenham smashed their club record this summer to sign French midfielder Tanguy Ndombele from Olympique Lyonnais in a deal worth €72 million. The 22-year-old adds a different dimension to the North London club’s already stacked midfield. Ndombele has given Spurs fans a glimpse of his talent on their pre-season tour of Asia, but the midfielder will need time to adapt to life in the Premier League.
However, there’s a homegrown player named Oliver Skipp, or “Skippy”, who is pushing for a starting place through his impressive performances in Asia. The England U-18 international is a deep-lying playmaker who likes to sit between the midfield and defence and control the tempo of the game although he is also capable of playing in the box-to-box role.
Under Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs have developed a culture of bringing promising young talent through the ranks and giving them opportunities in the first team. The 18-year-old, of course, is far from unknown to Pochettino as he made his breakthrough into the Lilywhites’ first team last season. He made eight Premier League and two FA Cup appearances, picking up two assists in the 7-0 demolition of Tranmere Rovers.
Skipp started his youth career with Bengeo Tigers FC and then moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2015. On 29 August 2018, he signed his first professional contract with Tottenham Hotspur. He made his professional debut for Tottenham in the 3–1 EFL Cup win over West Ham United on 31 October 2018. He made his Premier League debut in the home match against Southampton, coming on as a late substitute in a game that Spurs won 3–1.
Skipp is a hard-working player, he excels at intercepting loose balls and breaking down opposition plays due to his positional sense, defensive attributes, tactical intelligence, and ability to read the game. Though he has a stronger right foot, he has the ability to play with either foot which allows him to be used on either side of a midfield duo or trio.
With a pass completion rate of 81.85%, Skipp is a neat passer and he possesses great vision. This excellent sense for attacking allows Skipp to be a versatile player, with the ability to play as a deep-lying playmaker, or an advanced creative player.
At 5 foot 10, Skipp doesn’t possess a strong physical presence but it doesn’t restrict him from his defensive duties. With 8.9 recoveries in the opposition’s half, Skipp has the defensive and tactical intelligence to lead the press – something vital in Pochettino’s style of play.
One of the main highlights of the youngster’s game is his confidence & composure in pressure situations. His ability to screen the ball and think three steps ahead of the opposition shows in his decision making when under pressure.
At 18, Oliver Skipp looks like a real prospect and certainly appears to be putting his best foot forward amongst the first team squad. However, he could improve his strength and add more dynamism to his game, especially in the final third. He’s surely one for the future and there will be a lot of eyes on him this season.