Skipp lat­est academy grad­u­ate to im­press proud Po­chet­tino

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Soccer -

Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino is back­ing Tot­ten­ham young­ster Oliver Skipp to make it to the top af­ter he made his first se­nior start in the 1-0 win against Burn­ley.

The 18-year-old, who made his Premier League de­but against Southamp­ton as a sub­sti­tute 10 days ago, was thrown into the start­ing line-up against the Clarets af­ter Eric Dier was ruled out.

And he did not look out of place as he used the ball well, com­plet­ing 46 suc­cess­ful passes, be­fore be­ing sac­ri­ficed in the fi­nal 15 min­utes as Spurs chased the break­through, which even­tu­ally game in stop­page time cour­tesy of Chris­tian Erik­sen.

Po­chet­tino, who cel­e­brated his 100th Premier League win as Spurs man­ager, be­lieves that Skipp’s de­meanour be­fore the game shows he is des­tined for big things.

On his dis­play, the Spurs man­ager said: “Fan­tas­tic, fan­tas­tic, I think he played like a 30-year-old man. “So re­laxed, try­ing to play for­ward and try­ing to give the team what the team needs, plenty of en­ergy, full en­ergy, I am so proud of him.”

Skipp is the 13th player to have come through the academy used by Po­chet­tino in his four-year spell and with Spurs un­able to match the spend­ing of their top-four ri­vals, their youth sys­tem is a vi­tal source.

Spurs’ win may have come late, but it was de­served as they con­trolled the game against Burn­ley, who set up to take a point home.

Man­ager Sean Dy­che used a back three for the first time this sea­son and al­though ul­ti­mately it could not pre­vent a sixth away de­feat, he was happy with how it went. “We’ve had an up and down time. The rea­son I changed it is be­cause I think the men­tal­ity is com­ing back. And when we’re men­tally right they are well-minded to take on what­ever. They can be very re­cep­tive to new ideas.”

Mean­while, Dier has had surgery to re­move his ap­pendix and is ex­pected to re­turn to train­ing in Jan­uary. He had been suf­fer­ing acute ab­dom­i­nal pain. – PA

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