Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has dismissed the idea of sending Oliver Skipp and Pape Matar Sarr, instead predicting big roles in the first team for the young duo for the remainder of the season.
22-year-old academy graduate Skipp started the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace in the absences of the suspended Yves Bissouma and injured Rodrigo Bentancur, with Sarr replacing him off the bench midway through the second half.
The two young talents both made an impression on Conte, who ruled out sending either player on loan and backed both Skipp and Sarr to help out the senior side.
“Skipp and Sarr showed they are really reliable players for me and I’m really happy,” he said. “We exploited the period of the World Cup to work with these young players to improve themselves under the tactical aspect and physical aspect.
“Now they stay with us in the squad. I don’t want to send these young players on loan because the league is very difficult. We have to play Champions League, we have to play FA Cup. I think these young players can stay here to help us face these three competitions.”
Central midfield has been a problem area for Spurs this season. While the combination of Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has earned positive reviews, the lack of senior depth outside of Bissouma has been touted as a concern.
However, with Skipp back from a foot injury and Sarr using the World Cup break to impress his boss, Conte now appears to have found two more dependable options for the remainder of the season as Spurs look to compete on three fronts.
The Spurs boss also had plenty of praise for young forward Bryan Gil, who has impressed in recent weeks as Richarlison, Lucas Moura and Dejan Kulusevski continue to battle injury.
“We are talking about a player who was born to play football,” Conte said of Gil. “He understands football quickly. He’s so clever, so intelligent to understand the situation.
“Then you know this league is difficult, because you have to be good in quality and be fast and to have good endurance and he has this type of quality.”