Skipp believes only now is he getting back to his best levels after injury

Oliver Skipp believes he is only now starting to get back to his best levels after the first half of the 2022/23 season failed to go as planned for him. Missing a large chunk of the previous campaign through injury before making his return in pre-season, the Tottenham midfielder was dealt another injury blow ahead of the pre-season friendly at Rangers that resulted him missing out on the matchday squad in the first four league games.
Having to settle for minutes here and there with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur excelling in midfield upon his return, an injury to the latter has opened up the door for Skipp to come back into the side and he has grasped that opportunity with both hands. Following some very good showings against AC Milan and West Ham, the academy graduate opened his account for the club in some style against Chelsea on Sunday with a powerful effort from distance that found the net via the crossbar.
A very nice reward for the player after his troubles over the past 12 months, the rest of the Tottenham team sprinted over to celebrate the moment with him. Speaking after the 2-0 victory, the 22-year-old opened up on his dream goal and what he has been through over the past year before regaining his place in the side.
“Yeah I think so,” said Skipp when asked if his goal was a dream come true. “Like I’ve said, it makes it a bit sweeter to score your first goal in a game like that and for it to be an important one and to get the win as well. Massive, yeah it’s very sweet.”
On a frustrating 12 months, he added: “It’s been difficult, Especially the first half of the season, it didn’t go, from a personal point of view, how I wanted it to go. Even when I was playing I didn’t feel like I was performing to my level.
“So, it’s been nice these last few games to feel I’m getting back to that level that I know I can do and hopefully to keep pushing and to keep improving. It makes it so special at times like this, the last year hasn’t been the best from a personal point of view with the injuries. It was special to come back and score that goal.”
Having only started in five games in all competitions in 2022/23 before he was brought into the Tottenham XI against AC Milan in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg tie, the Welwyn Garden City-born player did not look like he had only played a bit-part role beforehand after delivering such an accomplished midfield display at the San Siro.
“I was always confident in my abilities in that I always felt like I would be able to when the opportunities came and just to train hard, to try and keep pushing and obviously with the terrible injuries that we had, we’ve only got three fit midfielders, so it’s really up to me Pape and Pierre to step up,” he explained. “Pape was brilliant in that game as well so hopefully we’ve shown everyone we can be trusted.”
Sunday’s 2-0 win over Chelsea now means that 14 points currently separate Tottenham in fourth and the Blues in 10th. While Skipp and Harry Kane will be the Tottenham players who receive the plaudits following their goals, the midfielder has hailed the contribution of Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski for the work they put in to help limit Chelsea’s threat.
“I think the team spirit is really good in the group. You saw the defenders making big tackles, you saw Richy must have covered the left-back spot about 15 times. Deki, everyone really, our forward players, midfielders, everyone put in big shifts to limit their threats,” said Skipp.
“I don’t feel like they created too many chances, we looked like the most likely team to score. It was massive shift from everyone, especially second half, we really stepped up and I think we showed our fitness levels too.”
Watching on from his home in Italy while he recovers from his recent gallbladder surgery, Antonio Conte was on FaceTime with the Spurs squad after the derby victory and congratulated Skipp on his maiden Tottenham goal.
“Yeah, I’ve seen him on FaceTime. I think he must have played the whole game, you know what he’s like,” joked the England Under-21s international. “He was just congratulating me, he was happy of course and we wish him well and come back as soon as possible.”
More praise was to come Skipp’s way after the game with midfielder partner Hojbjerg hailing the youngster’s mentality.
“He’s a young man with a good mentality. He works hard, he commits to his potential and if you want to be something in this world I think the mental part and the hardworking part is the most important thing and he has that on top of his abilities,” explained the Dane. “He should be pleased, he should also be proud but also it’s important for him to stay focused.”
(Football London)
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