'It does help you grow up' - Spurs loanee maturing at City
- Credit: PA
Loan success at Norwich City hasn't just been about development on the pitch for the Tottenham talent Oliver Skipp.
The 20-year-old is preparing for one of the biggest matches of his young career, alongside Canaries colleagues Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell at the group stages of the European U21 Championship in Slovenia.
England know they must beat Croatia on Wednesday (5pm kick-off) by at least two goals and hope that group leaders Portugal do the same against Switzerland if they are to scrape through to the knockout stages despite losing their opening games.
Skipp started both games and has started all 38 Championship games for Norwich, with the Hertfordshire-raised midfielder maturing on and off the pitch, with the social restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic adding extra challenges.
“I’ve had to live on my own due to lockdown restrictions, it’s not one of those where I’m going home every weekend," Skipp told his parent club's website.
“It’s helped me to develop outside of football and you can’t underestimate how important it is to get that right to make sure you are performing on the pitch. I have to say, Norwich have made it so easy to settle in. The squad and the staff have been brilliant, a really good, family club that have made the transition easy for me.
“It does help you grow up and become independent, having to do all the things you take for granted when you are younger, the things other people do, the things you don’t have to do yourself, so it’s been a really good experience in that way.
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“I’ve learned a little about cooking and looking after myself, that’s the main thing. I made a nice Thai green curry. Well, the first time I made it I was really pleased, but the second time it wasn’t as good!”
England U21s boss Aidy Boothroyd was keeping his cards close to his chest ahead of Wednesday's game but said he had a few players with bumps and bruises that needed assessing, with winger Callum Hudson-Odoi returning to Chelsea with the shoulder problem that kept him out of Sunday's 2-0 loss to Portugal and Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe doubtful after coming off at half-time with an unspecified problem.
The former Watford manager was also asked if he would have to consider Friday's games for players with Championship clubs, including the Norwich trio, but admitted he can't do that.
"We have a really good relationship with the clubs," said Boothroyd. "We've got to win this one, we've got to win it by two clear goals and we've got to rely on Portugal to beat Switzerland.
"Those things could happen and this could turn from being not a great trip, in terms of results, into a really good trip. So I think everybody is aware of the importance of the game and the importance of playing for England.
"That helps those clubs as well because they come back as better players."