Tottenham’s Oliver Skipp determined to justify Antonio Conte faith

The Italian has high hopes for the 21-year-old midfielder

Jonathan Veal
Monday 06 December 2021 12:00
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Tottenham midfielder Oliver Skipp is determined to prove Antonio Conte right and become a mainstay at the north London club.

The Italian said Skipp has all the attributes to become a “top midfielder” after his performance against Brentford in midweek and he followed it up with another impressive display in the 3-0 win against Norwich on Sunday.

Skipp, who spent last season on loan at the Canaries, has been a regular this season, having been handed his opportunity by former boss Nuno Espirito Santo.

The 21-year-old is flattered by Conte’s compliment, but knows there is still work to do.

“It is always nice to hear that, but I have to go out and prove it, otherwise it is just words and there is no point,” Skipp said.

“I feel that there has definitely been a lot of improvement. I need to keep working and keep doing the things that I am doing and keep making those improvements.

“Hopefully that happens, but I know that it is a lot of hard work before that happens.

“I hope this proves that it was the right decision to stay and I feel I am ready to play for Spurs.

“You are never quite sure at the start of the season, but it was a big confidence boost to start the first game of the season and it was something I was looking to build on and hopefully keep building on.

Antonio Conte passes on instructions to Oliver Skipp (John Walton/PA)

“I always wanted to fight for my place here and I am very grateful of the year I had last year at Norwich, but there are still a lot of improvements to be made.”

Skipp is an England Under-21 international but is not getting distracted by the idea of a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s senior squad.

“I am not getting carried away. I have played 10 or 15 games this season – 20 in all competitions,” he said. “There is a lot of things I need to be doing to be in that mix and I am just looking forward to keep pushing and pushing and seeing where it takes me.

“I have just got to keep doing what I am doing for the club and see what happens.”

The Conte effect is starting to be felt at Spurs as they are unbeaten in four Premier League games, winning the last three, to put themselves firmly back in the top four race.

There are a lot of games coming up in a short space of time and Skipp is remaining grounded.

“We have just got to keep pushing. We are not getting carried away after a couple of good performances,” he said, with Spurs two points behind West Ham in fourth, with a game in hand.

“There are lots of other games in this period which we need to make sure we get right. We are not looking that far ahead – we have just got to keep looking to the next game, even if it is a cliche.

“That is all we can do – we cannot concentrate on other teams.”

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