Cristian Stellini hails Oliver Skipp as example to Spurs’ academy stars
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Oliver Skipp was hailed as an example for the players in Tottenham’s academy after he scored in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Chelsea.
Skipp and fellow academy graduate Harry Kane struck in the second half to give Spurs bragging rights over their London rivals and strengthen their grip on a top-four berth.
While Kane has long been held up as a leading light for Tottenham’s youth, Skipp, 22, has had to bide his time but was praised by assistant Cristian Stellini, who again successfully deputised for boss Antonio Conte.
“This is an example for all the academy players that are now working with a dream to try to arrive here,” Stellini said of Skipp and Kane.
“The players who score are important to show to everyone that if you work well, if you work hard, if you believe in the club and in yourself, you can arrive to reach this target.
“It is not easy but you have to improve yourself and need to look at the type of players like Skippy.”
Recent injuries to Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma have handed Skipp an opportunity alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in midfield.
The England Under-21 international was a regular when Conte first took over in the winter of 2021 but a pelvis injury saw him miss the second half of last season before an innocuous problem with his heel slowed his progress in the opening months of this campaign.
Stellini is delighted to see the midfielder now back to his best following a brilliant maiden goal for his boyhood club.
He added: “Since we arrived here, Skippy surprise us in that moment.
“In January last season we lost Skippy for a long time, the rest of the season and when Skippy start this season he was not fit very well but he worked hard.
“He is a great guy who works 100 per cent every day. He needed time and the opportunity. When he had the opportunity, he showed to everyone the way and the confidence he has in himself. This confidence came from the work he does every day.”
Spurs will be boosted by Conte’s return this week after his period of rest due to gallbladder surgery, but no decision has been made on whether he will be back for Wednesday’s FA Cup tie at Sheffield United or Saturday’s trip to Wolves.
“He was really happy because he has suffered a lot, but now is the week Antonio is back so we are happy,” Stellini revealed.
He is a great guy who works 100 per cent every day. He needed time and the opportunity. When he had the opportunity, he showed to everyone the way.
Defeat for Chelsea made it one win in 11 matches for under-pressure Graham Potter, who defended the six changes he made.
He said: “There was one change to the (Borussia) Dortmund game, which was Raheem (Sterling) in for Misha (Mudryk).
“Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Thiago Silva and Reece James were unable to play against Southampton. That is just where we’re at.
“I’ve tried to explain many times about long-term injuries. Players are just not able to play three games in a week. I have a duty of care to them and their welfare to make sure they’re not risking injury.”
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