Skippy on new contract, praise from Jose and hitting the gym
Fri 17 July 2020, 11:22|Tottenham Hotspur
Jose Mourinho himself last weekend spoke of how Oliver Skipp has Spurs in his blood – so imagine the 19-year-old’s delight at putting pen to paper on a new deal with his boyhood club.
Born in Welwyn Garden City, the talented central midfielder often stood out as he worked his way up through our Academy system, frequently playing above his age group as he furthered his development with the aim of one day representing his beloved Spurs in the Premier League.
That dream was realised at the tail end of 2018 and since then, he’s gradually picked up more and more match experience at the top level, most recently getting his first taste of a senior north London derby as a substitute when Jose entrusted him to help protect our lead in the closing stages at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last Sunday.
He’s played 21 times for the first team to date and has now been rewarded for his progress with a new contract until 2024.
“It’s a big thing,” smiled the youngster, who had the distinction of playing in the first ever game at our new stadium when our Under-18s faced Southampton in a Test Event match back in March, 2019. “I’ve been at the Club since I was very young and it’s nice to extend my contract here. I think it shows that the Club and the manager has faith in me and it’s something that hopefully I can now push on from and see what the future holds.”
Incredibly, it’s now two years since Skippy first emerged onto the senior stage during our summer 2018 tour of the USA. His competitive debut followed at West Ham in the Carabao Cup that October and he’s added further appearances in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup since then.
“It’s really flown by – I look back at that first tour and it seems like it was yesterday,” he said. “I’ve experienced good things with the first team like being in the Champions League last year, it’s been a difficult season this season for everyone but I think that’s something that I’ve learned from and hopefully I can use it pushing forward for the next seasons.
“I’ve tried to make the most of these two years by just learning off the other players in training, watching what they do before a match, how they prepare, little things like that, and also if you’re not playing you can do extras in the gym. I’ve been trying, especially recently, to be in the gym more. Growing up and with the Premier League demands, just trying to be as strong as possible, as powerful as possible, really helps. You look at all the good teams – everyone is powerful, can run, so I think that’s something that you have to get into your game.”
The midfielder’s performance was hailed as “phenomenal” by Jose following his first start under him in March against Norwich City in the FA Cup and he again received a pat on the back from the Head Coach after his important late contribution off the bench against Arsenal last weekend.
“It means a lot because it shows that with what you’ve been doing in training, he trusts you in big games like the north London derby, so I can take that as a compliment,” he said. “You see what he’s done in the game – Champions League wins, Premier League wins – so as a young player it’s only something you can learn off and develop your understanding of the game due to his tactical knowledge. Working under Jose can only be good for me, just to develop all sides of my game.”
How does Skippy balance his hunger to play regularly with the patience required to hone his craft on the training pitch? “You’ve got to trust that it takes time,” he explained. “Everyone would want a magic wand overnight but I think you’ve got to remember, you’re playing for a team that’s been in the Champions League so you have to take your time, it’s not going to come straight away. I think you have to develop all aspects of your game and then when the chance arrives, hopefully you’ll be ready to take it.”