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Monday 21 January 2019

Pochettino believes Spurs youngster Oliver Skipp is destined for the top

The midfielder is the 13th player to have come through the Tottenham academy used by Pochettino in his four-year spell at the club.

Teenager Olivier Skipp made his first senior start for Spurs against Burnley (Adam Davy/PA)
Teenager Olivier Skipp made his first senior start for Spurs against Burnley (Adam Davy/PA)

By Jonathan Veal, Press Association Sport

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 struck down by a virus.

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.

“I think everyone is proud of him. He is only 18-years-old and I think it was fantastic.

“Now I think it is going to be easy for him because always the debut you are nervous. I remember when it was my first game and I said to him, ‘You look so relaxed. When I was 17, going to play I was so nervous’.

“I said, ‘That is the difference between a player going to be a top player and a player who was going to be normal player like me’.”

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.

“We are so happy,” Pochettino added. “I want to congratulate the people in the academy, John [McDermott, academy head], Dean [Rastrick, academy manager] and the coaches and staff who work in education.

“I think to build his career with him and to help him to build his career is fantastic.

“The work they are doing is amazing and we need to profit from this work to provide the team that energy and quality player because he is a very good kid, a very good person and it is a fantastic thing for Tottenham.”

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.

Boss 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,” he said. “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.

“I thought this was appropriate, and they were particularly open-minded to deliver it.

“I think it’s something we’d consider doing again, we didn’t just do it for a gimmick. In many ways today it was effective.”

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