Tottenham Hotspur secured safe passage to the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 7-0 hammering of League Two club Tranmere Rovers on Friday night.
Mauricio Pochettino was able to guide his side to victory, whilst also giving some of Spurs’ brightest young talents some valuable first team experience. 18-year-old midfielder Oliver Skipp played the full 90 minutes in the cup and his performance hinted that he may well be the future of the Spurs midfield.
The England under-18 international demonstrated his supreme ability on the ball against Tranmere. His 113 touches was bettered only by his midfield partner, Dele Alli, whilst his 91.5% pass accuracy rating was equally impressive. What’s more, Skipp also showed great vision and invention to produce two assists.
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Skipp also contributed defensively, making two tackles, three clearances and one interception. All in all, once he settled into the game, the young midfielder produced a confident, disciplined and effective all round display.
With Mousa Dembele ageing, there shall soon be a vacancy in Spurs’ midfield contingent. Skipp has shown that he has the potential to take up that role in Pochettino’s squad when the need arises. However, there are areas in his game where he must improve first.
Against Tranmere, in the early exchanges of the match, Skipp appeared to lack the necessary physicality and composure to compete. Before he grew into the game, he was all too easily pushed and bullied out of possession, and regularly played his teammates into pressurised situations. Against a higher calibre of opposition, Spurs may have been punished for this.
Skipp is by no means yet the finished article then, but the raw materials are certainly there for him to become an integral part of the Tottenham midfield for many years to come.