Antonio Conte pleased progress of Tottenham Hotspur duo Oliver Skipp and Japhet Tanganga
The Italian manager has brought about a wind of change at the N17. Jose Mourinho, too, had his moments but there is something very positive brewing under Conte. The experienced professionals are doing their job well, but so are the youngsters.
Japhet Tanganga and Oliver Skipp may have a couple of top-flight seasons under their belt now, but they continue to move from strength to strength under the former Inter Milan manager. The club’s recent outing against Crystal Palace was evidence of the good progress made by the duo.
Conte recently expressed his pleasure with the pair’s display against Palace in a little more detail.
“Do not forget that I think he (Tanganga) played a really good game as the third central defender on the left. I think he made a great performance and I am happy. I am happy for him because Japhet is a player that has a great sense of belonging.
“It’s the same for Oliver. For Skipp, he’s playing with me regularly, no? In every game, he is playing, and he is good. He is making big improvements and I think that he could become a very strong midfielder, a really good midfielder. For Japhet and for Oliver, it is a dream. During the game, you can see this.”
The duo has established themselves as important first-team players recently. Skipp is blossoming as an all-round midfielder and is vying actively for game-time this season. The departure of Moussa Sissoko could be felt in the opening weeks, but the Tottenham starlet has now made up for it with his work rate and tenacity when out of possession.
Tanganga is quite similar in his approach but far more calculated. To his benefit, he has played more in the white jersey than the 21-year-old and is also a year older than him. But his versatility has been a blessing to every manager that has arrived at the N17 since the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino.
The 22-year-old has played as a full-back and a centre-back, regardless of the formation. His performance in the left of a back three against Palace showed Conte and the fans that he can produce good performances on a consistent basis when he is on form, irrespective of the role he is asked to deputize in.
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All in all, it is encouraging to see that Conte is giving chances to the duo. The experienced heads form the core of the team for now, but the English duo could be future stars at Hotspur Way in the coming years. The pair would now be focused on the game against Southampton on Tuesday afternoon.
Conte has trusted Skipp since replacing Nuno Espirito Santo so we can expect to see the youngster, who had a good loan spell at Norwich City last season, appear on the pitch in some capacity. It remains to be seen if Tanganga features for the Lilywhites as well.