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Interviews

"A passer with a bit of fight" - media insight on Oliver Skipp

19 August 2020

Oliver Skipp signed on loan for Norwich City from Tottenham Hotspur earlier this week.

To understand more about our new recruit, canaries.co.uk spoke to Evening Standard journalist Dan Kilpatrick, who covers a handful of London clubs for the paper. He began by explaining the transfer itself.

“I wasn’t surprised when I heard of the loan to Norwich,” he said. “I knew that Skippy wanted to join a progressive Championship club where he could play regularly and compete at the top end of the second tier.

“Fulham were interested in him but that was before they got promoted. I think they kind of fell away as suitors once they won the play-offs, so I wasn’t surprised he chose Norwich. 

“They’ve got a manager who knows how to get out of the division having won it before. He’s got a good record with young players and Skipp has seen an opportunity to get minutes under his belt to develop.”

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So with interest from Fulham and a handful of clubs in Europe, what made Skipp choose our fine city?

“It was a question of finding a club that plays the right way as well,” Kilpatrick explained. “He wants to get on the ball. He doesn’t want to be in a team where the midfield is bypassed or a team that’s on the backfoot in the majority of games.

“From what I’ve heard, he did his research and looked at Norwich’s manager, squad and style of play, so I think it’s a well thought out decision. There was interest in Germany and Trabzonspor in Turkey as well, so there were a few options, but I think it was a good choice with Norwich.”

As for the type of midfielder Skipp is, his defensive qualities are clear to see, with his ability to contribute to goals from an attacking point of view less prominent in his time at Tottenham.

“He only played 105 minutes last season and didn’t play much more the season before, so he is still pretty untried and tested, so that’s why he’s going out on loan - to get game time,” Kilpatrick said. “From what I’ve seen, he’s good on the ball and likes to go for it.

“He’s tidy at moving the ball quickly. He works really hard and covers a lot of ground and gets stuck in. He’s not afraid of making tackles.

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“We haven’t seen much of him in a Spurs shirt in terms of crossing the halfway line and getting into the final third, so it will be interesting to see what he can do going forward if he’s settled in the team.

“He wants to play as a number six and sees himself as a holding midfielder. People at Tottenham have said he’s a bit of a cross between Harry Winks and Eric Dier when Dier was a midfielder. A passer with a bit of fight about him as well.”

At Norwich City, an emphasis is placed on signing the right person as well as the right player, and anyone who’s watched an interview with Skipp will already be familiar with how well he comes across off the pitch.

“Everyone raves about his character,” Kilpatrick added. “Jose Mourinho went on record to say he could be a future Spurs captain because of his character and personality. 

“He bleeds Tottenham and Mourinho said he brought him on in the North London Derby against Arsenal for a few minutes because he knew how much it would mean to him, so he’s a passionate lad with a good attitude.

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“He’s switched on and did his research before picking Norwich to study the club. He’s really ambitious as well.

“He looked at what happened at Chelsea with guys like Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount - how they went from the top end of the Championship almost straight into the England squad after their loans.

“He’s noticed that there’s not a natural number six in the England squad. I know that seems like a lofty aim at the moment but he’s certainly not lacking ambition. 

“He seems like a really good character; initially quite quiet but someone who, with game time and minutes, will grow into a junior leadership role. There shouldn’t be too many worries.”


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