Tottenham Hotspur prospect Oliver Skipp has revealed how he looks up to one of his club’s rivals’ stars for inspiration.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, the enforcer gave a glowing endorsement of Declan Rice and revealed how he hopes to emulate him.
The Spurs midfielder is currently plying his trade on loan at Norwich City who are soaring to the apex of the Championship – and look increasingly set for a return straight back to the Premier League.
Skipp has been called up to the England U21s and will be looking to play a pivotal role as an anchor man for the Young Lions in the prestigious youth tournament.
Skipp is noted to be an admirer of Premier League stalwarts Fabinho, Fernandinho and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, whilst he is also said to have been ‘watching videos of Jordan Henderson commanding the Liverpool midfield’.
Yet for West Ham fans, one segment of the report stands out from the rest – he is said to be ‘keen to pick the brains of West Ham’s Declan Rice’, who has established himself as a mainstay of Gareth Southgate’s midfield at barely Skipp’s senior at 22 years of age.
“I think that they [Henderson and Rice] would be more than willing [to help me],” said Skipp.
“I mean, Declan Rice has played over 100 Premier League games and he’s not too much older than me, so he’d definitely the one I’d be looking to talk to and just to see how he’s going about it.
“Obviously, Henderson is a Champions League winner so they are definitely players that you can learn off, watch and see what they do.
“I think with Henderson and Rice, a big part of their game is their leadership qualities.
“You see, on the pitch, the vocal demanding, positive attitude. I was watching it, because sometimes Liverpool release a clip of where you can actually hear the players and you just listen to Henderson throughout the game driving that team on and I just found that fascinating, just watching him, and definitely something with the experience that you gain I can add to my game for sure.”
Clearly, Skipp feels the West Ham ace sets the bar in terms of youthful quality in the defensive midfield role.
That is a sure-fire sign of encouragement if fans needed any further evidence that West Ham have a gem on their hands.
Rice is a beacon of hope for a younger generation of West Ham enforcers that should only add to the true value of their bulwark in the middle.