Skipp has right mentality to go far, says Tottenham team-mate Winks
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
The England midfielder discussed his recent extra responsibility in the Spurs side and talented youngster Oliver Skipp
Harry Winks has been in Oliver Skipp’s shoes – a teenager training regularly with the Tottenham Hotspur first-team and trying to catch the eye of the boss.
Now aged 22, the Hemel Hempstead-born midfielder is preparing to represent his country for the third time on Thursday night when England take on the United States in a friendly at Wembley Stadium.
Winks’ journey has not been easy, with an ankle injury troubling him for a large part of 2018, but he is fit now and enjoying a regular run of games in the Spurs team.
Rewind back to the 2013/14 season and the-then teenager was training regularly with Tottenham’s first-team and signed his first professional deal that summer not long after Mauricio Pochettino had taken over.
He had to be patient from then onwards – making only one appearance in the 2014/15 campaign and just another two the following term – but it paid off in the end.
In the 2016/17 season, Winks played 33 times and memorably scored on his full debut in the Premier League during a 3-2 win over West Ham United at White Hart Lane.
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Skipp, 18, is now following the same path as his elder statesmen and recently got his first taste of competitive action in a Spurs shirt.
The under-23 regular was introduced in the 84th minute of the 3-1 League Cup victory away to West Ham on October 31 and it was a proud moment for everyone associated with the Tottenham academy.
After impressing during the pre-season tour of the United States and appearing on the substitutes’ bench in games at Wembley against Barcelona and Cardiff City, the Welywn Garden City youngster was summoned by Pochettino at the London Stadium.
He relished his cameo role and although Skipp has had to settle for being an unused sub in recent victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and PSV, Winks is confident the talented midfielder will get more opportunities, but urged him to remain patient.
“I think ‘Skippy’ is a great player and he is still young,” England international Winks said, earlier this month.
“I understand where he is coming from because I’ve been there and been at that age where I have been in and around the first-team.
“For him now it is all about staying positive, learning and just staying patient. He is a good player, we all know he is a good player and I think he has the right mentality to go far.”
The reason Skipp got a chance against West Ham and was on the bench for matches with Cardiff, Barcelona, Wolves and PSV was due to the injury crisis in midfield for Tottenham recently.
Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama, Mousa Dembele, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli have all missed games and it placed great importance on Winks, who is still relatively young.
He relished the extra responsibility, though, adding: “It was obviously difficult with a lot of players injured in midfield, but for me I just wanted to play and help the team as much as I could.
“We were short (in that area), so it was important I stayed fit and helped the team as much as possible. It was a big challenge for me, but I enjoyed it.”
After biding his time, Winks is now a regular under Pochettino and if Skipp remains patient, he could eventually follow in his footsteps.