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Spurs kid Skipp to the fore

Midfielder, 18, makes first EPL start in 1-0 win over Burnley, earning praise from Pochettino, Eriksen

The Tottenham Hotspur academy just keeps churning out youngsters who are ready for the rough and tumble of the English Premier League.

On Saturday, another young gun - Oliver Skipp - came to the fore, following the footsteps of Harry Kane and Harry Winks.

The 18-year-old Englishman made his first EPL start in their 1-0 win over Burnley, slotting alongside Moussa Sissoko in midfield and did not look out of place, reported the British media.

Skipp is the 13th Spurs academy graduate to break into the first team since Mauricio Pochettino took over in 2014, reported the Independent. He earned praise from the Argentine manager for his matured display in the rain-soaked outing.

"He was fantastic," Pochettino said. "I think he played like a 30-year-old man. So relaxed, trying to play forward and trying to give the team what the team need, plenty of energy, full energy, I am so proud of him.

"I think everyone is proud of him. He is only 18 years old and I think it was fantastic. Now I think it is going to be easy for him because always the debut you are nervous.

"I remember when it was my first game and I said to him 'you look so relaxed. When I was 17, going to play I was so nervous'.

" I said 'that is the difference between a player (who is) going to be a top player and a player who was going to be normal player like me'.

"He in the last few months, of course in the USA in pre-season, he shows that he can cope with the pressure to play in the first team and it was only about time and the possibility to give the opportunity."

Spurs' Danish star Christian Eriksen was also impressed.

He said: "(Skipp) has come up out of nowhere in training and pre-season, he is learning he is not scared of anything, he made the first mistake in the game but he didn't make one after."

Eriksen scored their winner against Burnley in injury-time, slotting past Joe Hart after being teed up by Kane to give Pochettino his 100th win in the EPL from 169 games - 10 fewer than Arsene Wenger required to reach his century.


Pochettino was unaware of that statistic before the match though. His assistant manager Jesus Perez kept it from him.

Said Pochettino: "Jesus didn't want to tell me before the game because it's like a superstition. I don't read too much, I don't know too much. He knows nearly everything and he didn't tell me. I think it's a fantastic achievement for us collectively."

Meanwhile, the club announced yesterday that midfielder Eric Dier will miss the their festive fixtures after undergoing appendix surgery.

Dier will be unavailable for the League Cup quarter-final with Arsenal on Thursday morning (Singapore time), and league games against Everton (this Sunday), Bournemouth (Dec 26) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (Dec 29).