Tottenham Hotspur youngsters Ryan Sessegnon and Oliver Skipp have been nominated for the European Golden Boy awards. The concept was born in 2003 by Tuttosport, an Italian newspaper. The Times in the UK is one of many media teams who participate in the voting.
Tottenham Hotspur Youngsters in Esteemed Company for Golden Boy Award
Premier League Participation
Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling are both past winners of the award.
Oliver Skipp is a highly-rated midfielder. Prior to lockdown, Skipp was breaking into the thinking of manager Jose Mourinho. His breakthrough year came in 2018, making both his professional and Premier League debuts.
Tottenham have struggled at the back this season and Mourinho feels Skipp can be a player to protect his backline. Harry Winks is another player that can fill that role and the Portuguese manager has been working with both players on that. Mourinho said this of Skipp before the Champions League tie against Bayern Munich: ”With Skipp that has not happened yet (regular starts compared to Japhet Tanganga) – the big opportunity to start matches and play many minutes.
Mourinho felt that some of the work he has been doing is paying off and was impressed with Skipp’s performance against Norwich City in the FA Cup fifth round: “Phenomenal. Very, very good. Very, very good, solid performance,” he said when asked by Football.London about Skipp’s display.
“Even with the yellow card, I kept him for two hours, first of all because Winks was in trouble, secondly because he was so solid, so mature, so confident that I was never afraid of a second yellow card coming,” he added.
High praise indeed and with this nomination, Skipp can become a strong part of Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham future.
Ryan Sessegnon was nominated for this award at Fulham, catching the eye of numerous clubs before joining Tottenham in 2019. Whilst Skipp has worked his way through the academy at Spurs, Sessegnon’s career has been stop-start at Spurs. He wasn’t fully fit when he joined, not making his debut until November of 2019.
In December, he became the youngest player to score for Spurs in the Champions League, scoring against Bayern Munich.
Jose Mourinho has praised the left-back, comparing him to Ashley Cole: ”Probably the left-back in the last decade was Ashley Cole, in spite of him being from two enemy clubs, but he was fantastic.
“But Ryan has lots of similarities with Ashley, and he can learn how to defend. In the future I think he can be (a left-back) but in this moment he is not ready play as a left-back.”
Currently, Sessegnon’s position looks like being left full-back or left midfield. Much will depend on what formation Mourinho looks to play as he has changed a lot due to injuries.
Mourinho Looking to Change the Narrative Around Youth Players
One criticism of Mourinho’s management style has been that he doesn’t afford a lot of time to youth. At Manchester United, he put faith in young Scotsman Scott McTominay and, with the likes of Skipp and Sessegnon, is looking to change the narrative.
With the COVID-19 pandemic leaving clubs short on transfer funds, Mourinho is unlikely to be able to strengthen his squad once this strange season is over. He will need to put faith in youth and Skipp and Sessegnon will be the start of a new young and hopefully successful Tottenham Hotspur in the years to come.