Independence and Thai green curry - life on loan for Skippy
Tue 30 March 2021, 10:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Oliver Skipp probably had a list of expectations for the first loan experience of his career at Norwich City, but it’s doubtful being home alone for the best part of eight months and concerns his second attempt at a Thai green curry wasn’t as good as his first were on it.
Yet if his time on the pitch and in the football arena has been everything he expected, and more, as the Canaries continue to top the Championship, off the pitch he’s had to adapt to life on his own in a worldwide pandemic.
It’s fair to say Skippy has been a revelation in Norfolk. The young midfielder, 20, has started all 38 of Norwich’s matches as Daniel Farke’s men sit eight points clear with eight games remaining. It’s also worth noting that City are 14 points clear of Swansea in third as they chase an immediate return to the Premier League after relegation last season.
Away from football, Skippy admits it’s been a reality check.
“I’ve had to live on my own due to lockdown restrictions,” he told us before joining up with the England Under-21 squad for this week’s European Championship group stage in Slovenia. “It’s not one of those (loans) where I’m going home every weekend.
“It’s helped me to develop outside of football and you can’t underestimate how important it is to get that right to make sure you are performing on the pitch. I have to say, Norwich have made it so easy to settle in, the squad and the staff have been brilliant, a really good, family club that have made the transition easy for me.
“It does help you grow up and become independent, having to do all the things you take for granted when you are younger, the things other people do, the things you don’t have to do yourself, so it’s been a really good experience in that way.
“I’ve learned a little about cooking and looking after myself, that’s the main thing. I made a nice Thai green curry. Well, the first time I made it I was really pleased, but the second time it wasn’t as good!”
Skippy explained the biggest downside of life in the pandemic was that his family have been unable to attend matches. “They would have been at every game usually, and I’d want everyone there,” he said. “They’ve watched every game on TV, but it’s not the same. They did manage to get to a couple before Christmas when we had 2,000 fans in, but that’s been most difficult.
“I’ve still not played in front of a full crowd in the Championship! So, I’ve not had that experience, a full stadium at Carrow Road, and you then think of some of the away games in the Championship, that’s something I’ve missed out on. I can’t complain though really when it’s going so well!
“Also, I haven’t really had much time to explore the city due to the coronavirus, and we’re constantly playing games and travelling. I guess we have to look at it as we’re lucky to still be able to play football. It’s been a year now since the first lockdown, and that just seems crazy.”
Skippy spoke to us recently about life on the pitch. “I’ve started every game this season and you can really build momentum from one performance to the next," he said. "It’s been really good from that point of view, playing Saturday-midweek. You improve your game understanding and implement what the manager wants to do in matches, making sure you are developing all aspects of your game, and working on your weaknesses.
“I always believed I could cope physically, but it’s about going out there and proving it to everyone. Touch wood, I’ve coped with it at the moment.”