Tottenham Hotspur prospect Troy Parrot has a mountain to climb if he is to win Jose Mourinho over, despite being lauded for an “excellent” first league start by Millwall manager Gary Rowett.
Parrot joined the Lions on a season-long loan this summer after playing just five minutes of Premier League football last term, with Mourinho making it abundantly clear he was not ready to award the 18-year-old a role in the Spurs first-team.
Fans expected Mourinho to look more favourably on the Republic of Ireland international whilst Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son were injured last term, but Parrot had to “take it on the chin” and accept a loan move in order to push on in hopes of impressing the Portuguese tactician.
“To be fair, he’s such an experienced manager and he’s done nearly everything in the game, so if he feels like that’s right then there must be some truth in it, and I had to take it on the chin.” Parrott was asked by NewsAtDen this summer.
“I knew I just had to keep my head down in training and keep working hard. And getting this loan now is hopefully going to help me improve and push on.”
But chances for Parrott to impress have been thin and far between since moving to The Den, as an ankle injury carried over from the summer prevented the teen star from making his Millwall league debut until the closing stages of the Lions’ 1-1 draw with Cardiff City last Saturday.
His efforts on and off the field saw Rowett opt to name Parrott in the starting line-up for Wednesday night’s encounter with Reading, marking the teen star’s first second-tier start for the Championship side.
Rowett was impressed by what Parrott was able to offer at home to the Royals during his 63-minutes on the field, feeling the Spurs product offered glimpses of his potential but with room left for improvements.
“He was bright,” Rowett said, via quotes by London News Online. “For an 18-year-old player to make his league debut, I thought he was excellent. We could only really play him for an hour tonight. I’d have loved to have kept him on, and he’d have loved to stay on. But what we can’t afford to do is for another forward player to be out injured, because our injury list is growing which makes it difficult.
“He showed what great vision he’s got, his link play was good. I’d have liked him to maybe get a little bit higher at times. I think because we played him and Ben Thompson a little bit flatter, if there was space to drop and build then great. But we don’t all want to drop and build. We still need that penetration and that player in the box.”
Parrott, described by Christian Eriksen as not being a “shy guy” in 2019, vastly struggled to offer Rowett any penetration in the Reading box having rarely ventured far enough up the field to cause Michael Morrison or Liam Moore any problems, with just one of his 28 touches coming in the visitors’ penalty area, per WhoScored.
His lack of time spent in the Royals’ box helped ensure Parrott was brought off without having a shot on goal, while further failing to complete his only attempted dribble of the night.
Only 11 of his 20 passes were played in the final third, too, highlighting Rowett’s concerns of Parrott dropping too deep too often, although the teen forward was credited with playing two key balls as Millwall drew 1-1 to sit four points shy of the Play Off Positions.
Parrott must improve greatly on his early performances if the striker is to impress Mourinho, though, as the Spurs boss needs players who are capable of winning more than 45% of their duels (3/7 ground, 1/2 aerial) in north London.