‘I learned a lot from him’ - Former City, Spurs and Chelsea midfielder among Skipp’s role models
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A Ballon d’Or winner and a former Norwich City player were among the midfield inspirations for Canaries loanee Oliver Skipp as he was progressing through the academy ranks at Tottenham.
The England Under-21 international has started every Championship game of City’s season so far, having been with Spurs since he was 13, and has revealed the players that he studied as he’s been learning his trade.
That includes Scott Parker, with the current Fulham manager scoring once in six appearances for Norwich while on loan from Charlton in 2000 before going on to win 18 England caps and make almost 400 appearances in the Premier League for clubs including Spurs, Chelsea and West Ham.
“When I was at Tottenham it was the first time that they were in the Champions League, so I looked up to players like (Luka) Modric when he was there - and he has gone on to win a Ballon d’Or now,” Skipp explained.
“He was someone I would watch closely and Scott Parker as well. I was lucky enough to be coached by him as well (for Tottenham’s U18s during 2017-18). He is someone who played a similar position to me and growing up I learned a lot from him. I only had him as my coach for a year but he really helped develop my game.
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“And then there was Moussa Dembele. I managed to train with him as well before he left, that was unbelievable.”
The 20-year-old has been able to focus on developing in his preferred role as a deep-lying central midfielder so far with City, as he gets stuck in to his first loan spell, but the Hertfordshire native had been a defender growing up.
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“When I was younger quite a lot of the time I would fill in at centre-back. Then I stopped growing so I couldn’t go anywhere with that,” he revealed, speaking to the Canaries’ official OTBC match-day programme.
“However, at Tottenham they were really keen on you playing in a variety of positions, because it helps you wherever you end up playing because you’ll be able to fall back on the skills you have learned and develop all parts of your game.
“I have played a variety of positions, mainly in the defensive half of the pitch. I’m not sure people would want to see me up front, but that has helped me.”
Skipp grew up in the small town of Hertford, around 20 miles to the north of London, so has adjusted to the quiet life in Norfolk without too many problems.
“It has been really easy to settle in at Norwich. It’s not too busy but there is a lot to do,” he added.
“Obviously it has been tough with the pandemic. Things are maybe not open and you also have to be more careful as a player as the last thing you want to do is catch Covid, but I feel really at home here.
“It is very similar to where I grew up, because I didn’t actually live in London, and I have really enjoyed it.”