Ledley King says that with hard work and focus, bright sparks in Tottenham’s academy can follow in the footsteps of Oliver Skipp, who has come from the development squad right into the first team.
After his successful loan spell at Norwich last season, Skipp has returned to the capital and broken straight into the regular starting XI, mostly alongside Pierre Emile Hojbjerg.
The 21-year-old has also featured in the England U21 squad in a number of games during the international breaks so far this season. As football.london reported, Skipp was one player who quickly caught the eye of Antonio Conte and it all seems to be going well for the midfielder so far.
The Spurs academy has already produced first team players in Skipp, Harry Kane, Harry Winks and Japhet Tanganga, with glimpses of potential already seen in some of the current members.
A number of the Lilywhites youngsters have featured on the bench in Europa Conference League games with Dilan Markanday, Nile John and Dane Scarlett all getting match minutes – with the latter being in the matchday squad regularly under Nuno Espirito Santo.
Ledley King has given his verdict on some of the academy players he has seen potential in.
“Dilan always impressed me whenever he got the opportunity to train with the first team,” he said in an interview, on behalf of Signathon.
Markanday recently won the October Player of the Month award for the U23s and has scored 11 goals and registered four assists in 12 Premier League 2 appearances.
“Dane as we’ve said and again, he has played some games this season, not been easy for him with the team struggling to create chances and what Dane is, at this young age is an unbelievable finisher.
“The other aspects of his game he needs to work on but in terms of sticking the ball in the back of the net, he’s got that, but we didn’t see him get any real opportunities to do that, so difficult for him but I’ve got a great belief that he will have a huge part to play in Tottenham’s history in the next ten years or so.”
Scarlett played 75 minutes in the 1-0 defeat to Vitesse and didn’t have much of an impact on the game. However, that was more down to the lack of service the 17-year-old received rather than his own ability.
It is hard for the striker to show his true potential when the Spurs team he is playing in, currently have their own problems to work on.
“Another one is Alfie Devine, a young midfielder who impressed me a lot. He is someone again who keeps working hard, keeps his head down and can have a very bright future,” King explained.
Although Devine hasn’t featured in a first team matchday squad this season, he is performing well for the Under-23s with six goals and two assists in eight Premier League 2 appearances so far.
King went on to describe the ability he can see in Skipp, and the 21-year-old’s qualities that the academy players can implement in their own game as they continue their development.
“Skippy is a great example of hard work and discipline,” King added. “He is someone who came through the youth team and he was always focused and so mature in the way he played the game and the way he conducted himself. For a lot of young players, you see when someone is so dedicated to their craft and how far it can really take them.
“Him going on loan at Norwich really did him the world of good, his confidence grew from that and he is a Premier League player now, so I’m really delighted for him, he has played well this season.
“He is still a young lad, he is still learning and in a team that has been inconsistent which is never easy when you are a young player, and hopefully the manager can come in and bring some structure to the team and that will help him,” the former Lilywhites player added.
King’s analysis of Skipp is likely to be just some of the reasons he has caught the eye of the new Tottenham boss and despite the mixed performances from the Spurs side so far this season, the midfielder always gives 100% on the field.
Tottenham will join the FA Cup competition early next year and if they get a favourable draw, some of the academy players may find themselves in the matchday squad.
However, with fixtures set to get more difficult as Conte tries to take his team as high up the Premier League table as possible and progression in the Europa Conference League and Carabao Cup still on the cards, it may be difficult for the youngsters to get more match minutes this season.
With the January transfer window coming up, it could be the ideal time to send a few out on loan to help with their development, and ensure they are getting regular game time – just like Skipp did last season.
Signathon hosted a live virtual event for fans with Spurs legend and former captain, Ledley King. Ledley also signed limited edition merchandise, which is available to buy now online at www.signathon.live.
Source by Football London