Skippy: "To be out there, wearing the shirt, means a lot"
Tue 07 September 2021, 12:30|Tottenham Hotspur
Ever wondered what it would mean to be a Spurs fan, graduate from our Academy and then play for the first team? Oliver Skipp is living that dream...
‘Skippy’ first signed for our Academy at Under-9 level. He made his debut at West Ham at 18 and by 20, he’d made 23 appearances, starting nine times. Last season, he headed off to Norwich City on loan and played 45 of 46 league games as the Canaries won the Championship, his performances earning a place in the PFA’s Championship Team of the Year.
Now he’s back, with a bang. Initially returning for our friendly at Colchester on 21 July after picking up an injury in that 45th league game in May, the midfielder from Welwyn Garden City has earned a place in Nuno Espirito Santo’s first Premier League games as our Head Coach and excelled alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as we’ve put together three wins out of three to top the early table.
Just how did it feel to be in the starting line-up? “It’s hard to put it into words, really,” said Skippy, now away on England Under-21 duty. “As a Spurs fan, I’ve been to the games, watched players in my position, tried to learn from them, to then be out there wearing that shirt means a lot, to my family, to me.
“I remember walking out of the tunnel against Manchester City and that was one of the best atmospheres I’ve experienced. I remember thinking, ‘wow, this is what it means to everyone’ and what it means to me as well, growing up, you think of all those hours spent at the training ground trying to achieve that dream that, when you’re young, you think, ‘it’s never going to happen’, but I’ve managed to achieve that dream, so it means a lot.
“I’ve spoken to Japhet (Tanganga) about it as well, we’ve played together a lot over the years, since the age of 10, 11, and seeing him play as he did against Manchester City was amazing.”
Level-headed, modest and a credit to our Academy, Skippy remains grounded. “I’m not getting too carried away,” he said. “I feel there is still a lot of improvement that needs to come and will come with training in this environment every day.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the year I had at Norwich, how much they improved me as a player and a person, on and off the pitch, I’m really grateful for that year and feel I’ve come back a better player for that experience.”