Oliver Skipp has praised his midfield counterparts Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur of how the pair have been putting in impressive displays this season for Tottenham.

Hojbjerg and Bentancur are typically known as being defence-minded midfielders, however, both have shown an added dimension to their game further up the pitch this season.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

(Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Both players have stepped up with important goals this season, Hojbjerg scored a late winner in the Champions League match at Marseille which secured Tottenham’s place as Group D winners, while Bentancur has stepped up to score against Sporting CP, Bournemouth and Leeds United in recent weeks.

Skipp admits that competition for places is tough, with Yves Bissouma also jostling for regular game time under Antonio Conte but is looking to learn from what Hojbjerg and Bentancur have added to their game recently.

“I think the level of the club, of all the clubs in the Premier League, is increasing all the time. We’re in the Champions League this year, we’ve got internationals in every position – internationals that haven’t played much either – so the quality is there and we know that as a squad we have talent all over the pitch. As a club, we’re always looking to improve as well, so that keeps everyone on their toes,” Skipp said in an interview with the club’s matchday programme for the Leeds United match (Volume 15 – Issue 11).

“It is a strong squad that we’ve got and you have to work hard. I don’t want to use all the boring clichés but it’s true, you just have to train well and do everything that you can when you get those opportunities to play. When people are playing well, you’re always pushing, but you know that you’ve got to be at your top level to get into the team.”

Those ‘people’ are Bentancur and Hojbjerg and Skipp admits he has been studying the dup closely to add to his learning in the past year.

“To be fair, those two especially have been brilliant this season,” he continued. “I think in the last month or so they’ve even gone on another level again, so I’m watching and learning from them, trying to take bits from their games and seeing what they’re doing well at the moment.

“They’re getting more goals and assists this season which they’ve added to their game, so they’ve been fantastic for us and credit to them. I think all the midfield group, with Yves and the young lads as well, Harvey White and Pape Matar Sarr, we’re all pushing each other.”

SpursWeb Opinion

Skipp was unfortunate to have been sidelined for so long last season with his groin injury that required surgery and now has to try to fight for a place in Conte’s side.  Hojbjerg and Bentancur have earned the right to be Tottenham’s two first-choice central midfielders, while Skipp has looked sharp when given the opportunity to feature in a 3-5-2. 

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