Dean Ashton has said that Tottenham Hotspur would be making a big mistake if they let Oliver Skipp leave the club and believes that the youngster has done well enough to be given a chance with the North Londoners next season.
Skipp has been one of Norwich’s standout players this season and his performances have been one of the reasons why Daniel Farke’s side have been so dominant in the Championship.
Ashton believes that he is exactly the kind of player Norwich were crying out for last season, given the attacking talent that have at their disposal.
He told talkSPORT: “It’s a position, probably alongside a centre-back, that Norwich have needed and what they lacked in the Premier League.
“They didn’t sort that issue out and it’s a big reason as to why they got relegated – especially with the way they play and with the attack they’ve got.
“They need that player who’s going to martial that midfield and provide the cover in front of the back four and he’s been the perfect player to do that.
“It’s been great to see his improvement as he really has improved as the season has gone on, he’s grown in confidence.”
While Skipp has demonstrated his proficiency in building attacks from deep at Carrow Road this season, Ashton admitted that it is the midfielder’s ability to sense danger and sweep in front of the back four that has caught his eye.
The former West Ham striker said: “It’s easy to say he’s an all rounder because he does get forward but his biggest attribute is that he can sense danger, has great positional awareness and is disciplined in that position.
“It’s easy to get dragged in with the way Norwich play and join in, and he does when he needs to, but it’s more the understanding of that position and the discipline and sensing of danger that is so important for Norwich, who like to keep the ball to allow their full-backs pressing forward.
“It’s so important that their holding midfielder is disciplined and can smell the danger to fill in the gap – and he’s done that brilliantly.”
Ashton believes that the 20-year-old has a big decision on his hands at the end of his loan spell with the Canaries as he would not want to return to Spurs to play a bit-part role.
“That’s going to be the big question, will Jose Mourinho see him as an integral part of his team?” Ashton continued.
“Hojbjerg’s had a really good season playing in that holding midfield role so it’s really a question of himself, how much does he want to go back to Spurs and maybe be a bit-part player or there might be an opportunity where Norwich or another club look to sign him on a permanent basis.
“It’s a huge decision for him and Tottenham but Tottenham as a club are very different and the expectations are different.
“As long as he keeps putting in the performances that he has, he will pose a big question to Spurs as to whether they give him a chance.
“He’s at the stage now where he can’t sit on the bench and player the odd league cup game or Europa League game.”
The pundit suggested that the England Under-21 international has done more than enough to be deserving of first-team opportunities at Spurs next season.
He added: “The Championship is notoriously difficult and we’ve seen people this season shine when they make the step up [to the Premier League].
“For him to be hitting the levels he has at the top of the Championship, I think Tottenham would be daft to allow him to leave or send him out on loan.
“He’s played that well and deserves the opportunity to be given that chance at the start of next season.”
Spurs Web Opinion
It Skipp continues producing the same standard of performances until the end of the season, there is no question that he will be an important part of Jose Mourinho’s plans next season. Even if the 20-year-old does not start every game, he will easily get 20-25 appearances under his belt over the course of the campaign.
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