Cristian Stellini has praised Oliver Skipp for his performance against West Ham United, remarking that the midfielder’s intelligence on the pitch makes it look like he is older than he actually is.
Tottenham are missing two important players in the middle of the park at the moment, with Rodrigo Bentancur out for the rest of the season with a ruptured ACL while Yves Bissouma is expected to out out of action for around two months with an ankle injury.
Antonio Conte’s men are reliant on Skipp to step up deliver at a crucial point in the season and the midfielder certainly did not disappoint at the San Siro last week alongside Pape Matar Sarr.
The 22-year-old played alongside Pape Matar Sarr in the Champions League tie with AC Milan in midweek. And the pair were superb inside San Siro. However, it is probably fair to say that Sarr’s display won more plaudits.
Nevertheless, it was Skipp who started alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg against West Ham. And it proved to be an inspired call from Antonio Conte and Stellini.
Skipp was outstanding in the middle of the park. He actually picked up a yellow card after just nine minutes. But he managed to remain disciplined for the rest of the contest. And he received a huge ovation from supporters as he came off in the latter stages.
Stellini admitted that he and the coaching staff at Spurs rate Skipp highly and remarked that the academy graduate just needs some regular game time to rebuild his confidence after a frustrating spell on the sidelines through injury last year.
The Italian told Tottenham’s official: “Skippy, when we arrive here, we discover this type of player. We have lost Skippy for a long time for a physical problem and we are sad for that but we had to wait for the right moment. He is a young player who needs confidence and needs to feel everything is perfect around him. He needs to play. This type of player needs to play.
“We can give him all the love we can but the player needs to play and want to play to stay confident. When Skippy is confident, he is a young player with a great mind. It’s not because you’re young that you don’t have experience. Skippy is an intelligent player and for that, it seems he’s more than his age.”
The youngster has not enjoyed the best of luck over the past year after picking up a couple of injuries, but he seems to be getting back to his best now.
Of course, Skipp was a mainstay in Conte’s midfield before he picked up an injury right after the club brought in Bentancur last season.
He’s found opportunities hard to come by since due to the blossoming partnership of Bentancur and Hojbjerg, but he should benefit massively from a prolonged run in the side.