Tottenham Hotspur have a number of major talents in their academy, but none have caught the eye quite like Irish striker Troy Parrott.
Just 16, Parrott, per The Sun, is already training with the club’s senior squad and has enjoyed a number of eye-catching performances for the Under-23 side. Parrott has also played for the Republic of Ireland at the European Under-17 Championships.
He has scored against both Barcelona and Inter Milan – the goal against the Italians was a screamer from the edge of the box – in the UEFA Youth League, netting five goals in total across the competition.
Per Transfermarkt, he has scored 11 goals in the Under-18 Premier League thus far this season, in just seven games, and was touted as a possible replacement for Harry Kane after the England international sustained a serious injury.
Those opinions may have come a little too soon but it should be noted that he is probably further along in his physical development than Kane was at the same age, as one of the foremost authorities on youth football among Spurs fans, Chris Miller (@WindyCOYS on Twitter) explains.
He told Football FanCast: “Kane was quite a big lad at the same age but he wasn’t very nimble – that came later for him. Parrott is physically tall and strong but has a lot more athleticism than Kane had at the same age.
“He is also a real worker in style, which clearly suits Mauricio Pochettino – he’ll drop deep to help out the midfield when necessary, and track players back into his own half.”
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Nevertheless, Miller believes that it is too early to focus on the possibility of Parrott playing regularly for the first-team, yet says he would not have done much worse than Fernando Llorente, who’s performances have been mixed since stepping into Kane’s shoes.
Asked if Parrott could play for the first-team, he replied: “Parrott could not be parachuted into the first team and be expected to perform at anything like Kane levels – that would, of course, be an unreasonable expectation. I personally don’t think he wouldn’t have done any worse than Llorente has done, but it would have been a big, big ask to have a 16-year old start up front – physically as much as anything.
“I think Spurs need to take a more strategic approach to ‘readying’ young players which would include slower introductions, a bit like how we brought through Harry Winks. Aside from Winks, typically under Pochettino youth players have been thrown in when there is literally no-one else to play, and I think that method is sub-optimal.
“Parrott could absolutely play some minutes and look fine, but ideally he would play more Under-23 minutes or go out on loan before advancing to the first team.”
Kane, of course, took in a number of loan spells before his breakthrough, playing for the likes of Leicester City, Norwich City and Millwall.
It remains to be seen if Parrott, too, will be allowed the chance to play lower-league football before being given a debut by Spurs, but he is currently one of the best players in the club’s youth academy.
Miller adds, when asked if he is the undisputed jewel of the academy: “Kazaiah Sterling is probably ‘ahead’ of Parrott due to being older, stronger, having more Under-23 experience, and having trained with the first team for longer. But there’s no doubt that Parrott has a higher ceiling at this point.”
Pochettino has shown a willingness to throw players into the deep end before; the likes of Kyle Walker-Peters, Oliver Skipp and Winks have all graduated from the youth team in recent years.
However, it remains to be seen if the Argentine would be willing to give Parrott a baptism of fire in the Premier League or the Champions League, particularly with Spurs eliminated from both domestic cup competitions.
Nevertheless, Parrott’s ability has not gone unnoticed by Spurs fans and management alike.
Parrott travelled with the Spurs squad for the 2-0 win over Leicester City in December, though he did not make the bench, and, after the game, Pochettino opened the door to the possibility of him making his debut before the end of the season.
Per Football.London, he said: “All the players that we have in the squad, the younger ones like Oliver Skipp or Troy Parrott, who was involved today for the first time, it’s because they’re involved in the first team during days, during weeks, during months, and it’s only to give the possibility to play.”
Indeed, the club have a patchy record of bringing in strikers to help Kane; the last three striker signings, Fernando Llorente, Vincent Janssen and Roberto Soldado, have scored 32 goals between them at Spurs. Kane scored 41 just last season.
It is clear that Kane needs support, and it would make sense for Pochettino to eventually turn to his academy. Parrott, then, may well follow in Kane’s footsteps before too long; another one of their own living the dream of every Spurs fan.