Tottenham Hotspur have no fewer than ten players out on loan this season, ranging from fringe first-team stars such as Juan Foyth (Villarreal) and Ryan Sessegnon (Hoffenheim) to rising prospects like TJ Eyoma (Lincoln City) and Troy Parrott (Millwall).
But, arguably, none are performing to the level of promising young midfielder Oliver Skipp, who is hugely impressing at Norwich City in the Championship this season.
The 20-year-old has made 23 senior appearances for Spurs since his debut in December 2018, where he came on as a substitute against Southampton.
Jose Mourinho felt it was right to give him regular game time elsewhere this season with the likes of Moussa Sissoko, Tanguy Ndombele and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg ahead of him in the pecking order.
And that has proven to be a wise decision as the England U21 powerhouse is shaping up nicely ahead of a potential return to the first-team fold in the future.
He has started all 12 of the Canaries’ matches this term, helping them towards occupying the top spot in the second-flight. Per WhoScored, he is averaging 2.1 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 0.8 key passes per game.
“I feel like [Daniel Farke’s] been really good for my development so far, real clear guidance on what he wants from me and even after games,” said Skipp last month.
It’s clearly a beneficial move for all involved thus far.
And that should serve as a massive warning to Harry Winks, who appears to be in a bit of a career crossroad at Spurs right now.
After picking up his ninth cap during the latest international break, the fellow midfield academy graduate described his situation at the north Londoners as “difficult,” due to his lack of starts ahead of the European Championships this summer.
It has led to Danny Mills tipping the 24-year-old for a January loan move elsewhere but with Skipp on the rise, perhaps it’s best if Winks parted ways with Spurs entirely. He’s clearly not fancied by Mourinho right now and that’s only going to get harder when the Norwich loanee returns.
Winks has started just three Premier League matches this season and has only averaged one tackle and 0.3 key passes per appearance, via WhoScored. It doesn’t help that we do not know his best position – is it as a no.6 or as a no.8?
Skipp immediately solves that conundrum as an out-and-out defensive powerhouse who has the ability to roam box-to-box just like Mousa Dembele. At just 20, he’s the far better long-term option for the club too.
Clearly, Mourinho already believes that too as he once said: “I see this kid being one day a future captain here by his character, by his personality.”
Skipp, if he keeps this up, is the future of that Tottenham midfield – not Winks.
AND in other news, Spurs must avoid making free transfer swoop for World Cup winner…