Positive Oliver Skipp fitness update with midfielder excited about Antonio Conte pre-season

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Oliver Skipp will be ready to hit the ground running for the first day of Antonio Conte’s pre-season and a big campaign for Tottenham, football.london understands.

The talented 21-year-old enjoyed a real breakthrough season last time around in the Premier League under first Nuno Espirito Santo and then Conte, earning praise from all corners before a pelvic problem ended his campaign in frustrating fashion three months early. The only person as frustrated as Skipp was Conte who publicly raged at Tottenham’s medical department for the slow progress and setbacks with someone he saw as an important young player, over an injury that he had been playing with since October last year.

After a failed injection to stop the pain, the problem was finally fixed in April with a visit to a specialist in the USA, as minor surgery was undertaken followed by a period of recuperation. Skipp’s recovery from that point on was quick and he was running outdoors and working with a ball in the final weeks of the season on the training pitches.

READ MORE: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s intense and fascinating relationship with Antonio Conte

football.london understands that the England U21 midfielder is now in good shape, raring to go and available to hit the ground running for the first day of Conte’s pre-season in less than a month’s time. The Spurs head coach has high hopes for Skipp, having taken a shine to him quickly after arriving at the club in November, recognizing his tactical intelligence, fitness levels and technique and he believes he can turn him into a top midfielder.

“This player is a very young. He has really a lot of space for improvement,” Conte told football.london back in December after back-to-back man of the match displays from Skipp. “He played with great intensity, great passion, with heart, with soul. I think it was important because, for me, he does not care if he’s only 21-years-old, who deserves to play.

“Today he played well. I think that I can improve him a lot in possession and technically, to look before the play that they have to do. We’re talking about an important prospect and I’m very happy for him, but now he has to continue in this way. He has to improve with the ball, no? In possession. This player, without the ball, he works very, very hard. To have him in the midfield together with Hojbjerg is very, very important.

“For sure, the part that he has to improve is with the ball but in one month I have seen a lot of improvement about Skippy. He’s a player who wants to improve. 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, but he has to continue to work. He has this will, this desire to become an important player for Tottenham and for the present and for the future.”

Skipp had returned from a Championship-winning season on loan at Norwich a more complete and confident player. It was a loan that former Spurs boss Jose Mourinho, who labeled the midfielder as a future Tottenham captain, is understood to have not been too keen on because he wanted the youngster to remain as cover within his squad.

However, the loan move was eventually agreed to and worked perfectly in giving Skipp week in, week out starts under Daniel Farke and when he returned last pre-season, Mourinho’s successor Espirito Santo was instantly impressed. Skipp started the bulk of his matches at the helm and then under Conte, the central midfielder started seven out of the nine Premier League games he was available for.

Spurs spent much of the season trying to tie Skipp down to a new contract and that eventually arrived with a bumper new five-year deal penned late in April, which represented the climb he had made up the ladder at the club.

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All the while, the midfielder kept on learning despite his injury, sitting in on Conte’s tactical meetings with the team and he would observe training to soak up the information Conte was imparting and his concepts. In turn Conte was impressed by Skipp’s attitude towards learning and his ability to take that new information on board.

There is much more to come from the 21-year-old and Conte believes that with Premier League and Champions League football in the next season schedule, Skipp is going to continue to improve and be a vital player in the squad.

“I’m very happy for Skippy because he ‘s not just a good player, we’re talking about a fantastic guy,” he said football.london about the midfielder’s new contract towards the end of the season. “Unfortunately he’s had that problem with his injury because at this moment he’s not available. I know his frustration.

“I think this new contract shows him that we trust him a lot. He’ll be very important for the present and for the future of Tottenham. I’m delighted for him.”

There is even an optimism within Spurs that if Skipp can show the levels they expect from him not only in the Premier League but also in the Champions League in the months ahead, the England U21 star could emerge as a late contender to grab a place on the plane with Gareth Southgate’s senior squad for the winter World Cup in Qatar.

The midfield battle is set to be a fierce one at Tottenham with Rodrigo Bentancur quickly adapting to the English game after his January move from Juventus. The three-time Serie A title winner and Uruguay international is yet to play alongside Skipp due to the timing of the younger midfielder’s injury.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will continue to be one of Conte’s leaders in the squad but Harry Winks is set to leave this summer in search of regular football. Another central midfielder is expected to be signed to replace him, but there is a belief that it will be a more forward thinking central player incoming rather than another anchor man.

There is also 19-year-old box-to-box midfielder Pape Matar Sarr, who will finally arrive at the club after a season-long loan back at Metz following his signing last summer. The Senegal international will be looked at closely this summer before Conte decides whether the youngster requires another loan.

For Skipp, his future is very much at Spurs and he will approach what will be a gruelling first pre-season under Conte fully fit, excited and with no fear about what lies ahead.

“I feel like there’s a lot more [to come from me] and the next level I can get to and I’m really looking forward to showing that when I’m back, “Skipp said after penning his new deal.” I think pre-season will be massive for me again to make sure I ‘ m 100 per cent right for the start of the next season and to really push on again. “

Skipp has consistently improved in every single year of his career so far and Tottenham have no doubt that will happen again on the biggest stages next season.

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