Oliver Skipp’s former Norwich City teammate Alexander Tettey has backed the Spurs academy graduate to evolve into a top midfielder if he continues getting regular game time.
Skipp has arguably been Tottenham’s best player so far this campaign, with the youngster being one of the few players in the squad who shone during Nuno Espirito Santo’s four months at the helm.
The 21-year-old also seems to have won over Antonio Conte fairly quickly, with the Italian insisting that the youngsters has all the attributes to evolve into a top midfielder.
That is a sentiment that Tettey certainly agrees with, having seen Skipp up close during the youngster’s loan spell at Carrow Road last season.
Tettey, who left Norwich to move back to his homeland Norway in the summer, insisted that fans will get to see the more expansive elements of Skipp’s game over the coming months.
He told Football.London: “He [Skipp] has people in front of him who trust him a lot. He’s played very well with [Pierre-Emile] Hojbjerg. In the Premier League, you need to be sure in your game and I think that’s what he has been in the beginning.
“I feel after a while that you will see more of Oli in terms of his passing as I think he will take more risks and then you’ll see his capacity getting stronger and stronger.
“For example, I saw the first game against Man City and I thought he played brilliantly, and I let him know that as I sent him a message about it and told him he had a very good game.
“He’s a guy that I like a lot, both on and off the pitch, and I am enjoying watching him grow. It’s nice watching young players grow, get better and become the footballer they should be or are going to be.”
Tettey also stated that Skipp not only stood out for his talent but also because of his work ethic and discipline.
The former Norwich man added: “My first impression of him as a person was that he was very calm, a very humble guy, but when on the training pitch he was very serious. Even when it came to matches, he was spot on.
“He’s not the guy who talks a lot or thinks much of himself. When it comes to what he’s supposed to do, both in training and in matches, he was absolutely spot on.
“Playing against him was not the easiest thing! He was very good and he’d never give you an inch.
“It was always very interesting playing against him because he’s a top footballer who trains very well. He’s not someone to relax in training, he’s always on it.
“It wasn’t easy for me or some of the offensive players to go past him. It was never easy.
“To come to Norwich and the way he was playing in that midfield, he wasn’t a Championship player, he was more than that. I was really stunned by his performances.
“In the beginning, he was trying to find his feet but after maybe two or three games he was playing like he’d been playing the game for ages.
“The way he was winning the ball, the way he was passing, the way he was running and going about his football was outstanding.”
When asked how important Skipp was in helping Norwich win the Championship title under Daniel Farke last season, Tettey said: “He was crucial. His form for the former manager was crucial. I used to do this but when you are old you need someone younger and they found that in Oli.
“When you have that person who plays in the middle of the park you never get the recognition because it’s always for the offensive players. He was one of the main guys who made us click and win the Championship last year.
“He was always there, he was covering ground, he was playing, making us tick, tackling. He did everything.
“I think the fans appreciate that a lot. A lot. It’s just a shame that normally these players never get first place as they come second or third because it’s always the striker who scores more goals than you or the winger who gets more assists.
“For me, he was definitely, if not the best, one of the best performers for us.”
The 35-year-old confidently asserted the Spurs youngster will go on to reach great heights if he is continued to be trusted by Antonio Conte and his coaching staff.
When asked if the 21-year-old can reach his potential, Tettey said: “Playing time has a lot to do with it and trust. If Conte has trust in him and gives him playing time, then he can become a very good player for Tottenham.
“I hope Tottenham don’t waste his talent as they have a future player. Actually, I wouldn’t say future player as he is playing now. They have a player who can be a top, top player.
“He’s not going to be someone who parties after games or doing this, he’s a serious professional player whose dedication is there. Trust him, give him playing time and players like this will be grow to be top, top players for the club.”
Spurs Web Opinion
As Tettey points out in this interview, what stands out above Skipp above all else is his maturity for such a young age.
The midfielder does not seem like the sort of character who would get carried away by his success and stop doing the things that got him there.
He seems like he is desperate to improve and keep getting better. Working under someone Conte will certainly do his development a lot of good.
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