Mourinho can get the best out of Skipp

Jose Mourinho may well have silenced a few doubters in 2020 after introducing Japhet Tanganga into the Tottenham first team.

Although the talented defender was given his senior debut by Mauricio Pochettino for September’s Carabao Cup clash at Colchester United, it was the Argentine’s successor who handed the 21-year-old his Premier League bow and kept him in the side


Given Pochettino did like to promote from within and made the likes of Harry Kane and Harry Winks household names, many fans fear for the next batch of youngsters looking to make the step up because of Daniel Levy’s decision to appoint the 57-year-old.

Asked at his pre-match press conference ahead of the Bayern Munich Champions League game about his record of bringing through academy talents, Mourinho picked out Raphael Varane and Scott McTominay as notable examples of players who have progressed from the academy and thrived under him.

Dubbing the latter as “only the best player at Manchester United” following his stunning rise in recent seasons, the example of the Scotland international is one Oliver Skipp could potentially follow over the coming years at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Mourinho is clearly a big fan of the England U21 international and he made it clear back in February when discussing the youngster and Tanganga ahead of the trip to Aston Villa.

“Tanganga’s already in the dressing room, with Skipp,” he explained. “Both are fantastic kids – both kids in which we believe a lot.

“The difference is with Japhet that the big opportunity appeared. With Skipp that has not happened yet – the big opportunity to start matches and play many minutes.

“But both are in the first-team dressing room. And our objective – what we are working on – is to make them Tottenham players for many years.”

Handed appearances off the bench by Mourinho against Burnley and Bayern back in December, it wasn’t until the FA Cup fifth round clash against Norwich City when the 19-year-old next appeared in the first team.

Skipp was handed a start against the Canaries and he more than took his rare opportunity in the starting XI with some brilliant tackles and blocks in crucial positions to stop the visitors from taking control of the game.

Keeping things neat and tidy when in possession, the midfielder didn’t look out of place across the 120 minutes and he earned plenty of praise from his boss after the game.

“Phenomenal. Very, very good. Very, very good, solid performance,” he said when asked by about Skipp’s display.

“Even with the yellow card I kept him for two hours, first of all because Winks was in trouble, secondly because he was so solid, so mature, so confident that I was never afraid of a second yellow card coming.

“He was always in control of the game. We could see the difference also on the physical condition of him and the people who us playing all the time.”

His “phenomenal” performance was enough to see him start three days later at Burnley and he again did well and perhaps didn’t deserve to come off at half-time as Mourinho switched things about as they trailed 1-0.

Showing enough in his last two performances that he has a very bright future ahead of him, the Welwyn Garden City-born player may continue to feature for Spurs once Premier League football resumes.

Although Skipp does have a number of players ahead of him in the midfield pecking order at Spurs, what could help him next season is Mourinho’s need for a defensive midfielder and the fact the club won’t have bundles of cash to spend because of the current situation across the globe.

Featuring regularly on the Manchester United bench early on in the 2017/18 season, McTominay was given minutes here and there by Mourinho before starting to play a few full games towards the tail end of the campaign.

The Scot continued to grow the following season and he has since become one of the first names on the teamsheet under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with Mourinho hailing his “dominant” performance against the Lilywhites at Old Trafford back in December.

Perhaps not appreciated by some outside of Manchester as he’s not the type of player who’s going to regularly chip in with goals and assists, McTominay is now a key part of the Red Devils team and Skipp could follow in his footsteps at Tottenham over the coming seasons as his boss knows he has a very good player at his disposal.


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