Antonio Conte has been dealt a huge injury blow concerning Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Oliver Skipp.
In a recent statement posted on the Tottenham Hotspur website, the club confirmed that the 21-year-old – who has not featured for Spurs since the 2-0 Premier League defeat to Chelsea in January – has now been ruled out for the remainder of the season.
The club continued to state that the England U21 international underwent surgery in America on Tuesday morning in order to repair his pubis injury, and is now expected to return to first-team training in pre-season.
The statement read: “We can confirm that Oliver Skipp has undergone surgery in America this morning (Tuesday 26 April) to repair a pubis injury and will be out for the remainder of the season.
“The academy graduate, 21, will now undergo a period of recovery and is expected to return to training for the pre-season period.”
With Conte stating back in January that Skipp would only be sidelined for a fortnight as a result of his injury – before the 52-year-old went on to put pressure on the Tottenham medical team to have the midfielder ready to return to action in seven to ten days – the news that the 21-year-old will now be unavailable for selection until 2022/23 is sure to have left the Italian fuming.
Indeed, it is evident just how highly Conte rates the Spurs academy graduate, with the former Inter Milan manager stating of the youngster earlier this season:
“This player is very young. He has really a lot of space for improvement. He played with great intensity, great passion, with heart, with soul. I think it was important because, for me, he doesn’t care if he’s only 21 years old, who deserves to play.
“I think that the present and the future depends on him. If he wants to become a top midfielder, he could become a top midfielder. He has this will, this desire to become an important player for Tottenham and for the present and for the future.”
However, not only is the Spurs manager a huge fan of the England youth international, it is clear that the Italian also trusts Skipp greatly, with Conte playing the £18m-rated talent in all but one of the 14 fixtures in which he was available for selection – following the 52-year-old’s arrival in north London last November.
As such, the loss of the £50k-per-week sensation will certainly come as a huge blow to Conte and his Tottenham side, who will now be forced to chase fourth-placed Arsenal down in the league without the services of one of their brightest prospects.