A brave style of play and a commitment to developing young players were two of the key elements that attracted Oliver Skipp to sign on loan for Norwich City on Monday.
We sat down with the midfielder, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, shortly after he put pen to paper for his first club interview.
canaries.co.uk: Oliver, welcome to the club. Tell us how it feels to become a Norwich City player.
OS: I’m delighted to sign for Norwich. It’s a club that’s looking to go places. It was in the Premier League last season and this season is a big one for the club. We’ll be looking to get back into the Premier League. From a personal point of view, I’m delighted to sign for the club.
canaries.co.uk: When did you first learn of our interest in you?
OS: A couple of weeks ago I spoke to Stuart and the club. Since then, I was interested to get to know more about the club and speak to the manager.
canaries.co.uk: Was there interest from other clubs and, if so, why did you choose to join Norwich?
OS: The style of play that Norwich like to play really suits my game. You saw in the Premier League that they didn’t change their style despite the results not going to plan. It’s a club that shows the right ambition and is looking to get back to the Premier League.
It’s a club that really suits me and I hope to develop as a player here.
canaries.co.uk: Was it a decision that required a lot of thought, given that it’s your first loan move away from Spurs?
OS: Not really, because over the last couple of years I haven’t played as much football as I’d have liked, so this is a real opportunity to try to get minutes and develop my game learning under Daniel, who’s got a history of working with young players.
That’s what really excited me about coming to Norwich.
canaries.co.uk: What were the conversations like with Daniel and what did he say to you that encouraged you to join?
OS: He said that if I work hard and train well then there will be opportunities. That’s something you look for as a player, but it’s down to you at the end of the day to be performing. If you show that right attitude in training, there’ll be opportunities for you to play.
canaries.co.uk: You mentioned young players being given a chance under Daniel and that must have been a big pull as well.
OS: Definitely. He showed he trusted them in the Premier League by keeping the core of young players. I know a few of them from England Under-21s, so it really excites me and hopefully should help me settle really quickly.
canaries.co.uk: Who do you know already and did you speak to them before joining here?
OS: I know Todd, Ben and Max. I spoke to Max before coming and he only said positive things about the club. Knowing a few of the boys will help me settle in, so I’m really looking forward to getting started.
canaries.co.uk: You’ve already got experience coming up against us in that dramatic FA Cup game in March. What did you make of our approach that day?
OS: It was a positive result for Norwich and they played out from the back, even against a bigger team. It shows that they’re willing to risk the ball under pressure. On that night, in the second half they deserved the win.
The style of play really appeals to me and I hope we’ll be pushing for promotion in the Championship.
canaries.co.uk: Have you had a chance to have a little bit of a break after the end of last season?
OS: Yeah, it was a nice few weeks to take the mind off of football but I’m raring to go. I haven’t played as much football as I’d want but this is a massive opportunity and hopefully I’ll show the fans that I’m capable of taking it.
canaries.co.uk: It’s going to be a quick start with the new season just around the corner, so you must be looking forward to getting amongst the lads and getting some minutes under your belt.
OS: Definitely. I’ve seen a few of the boys this morning and they’ve welcomed me in really nicely.
Look at the squad and you’ve got players like Tim Krul - a World Cup quarter finalist - so I’m sure he’ll help me settle along with the boys I know already.