Ireland is currently undergoing a slow rejuvenation under Stephen Kenny, if he is given the time he needs then the rewards could be felt for years to come. The one area we are so weak in currently is attack, where Troy Parrott is one of the BIG hopefuls. The 19-year old striker is currently at Ipswich in League 1, and has just bagged his first goal at senior level.
Parrott has been at Tottenham since 2019. He signed his first professional deal with the London-based club at the age of 17 after impressing through the youth ranks. A Dublin native, Parrott made his first-team debut in July 2019. Then manager Mauricio Pochettino played him in a friendly against Juventus, he also played against Real Madrid that summer as a sub. He played well enough to hit the post and earned a lot of plaudits for his performances, which in turn fueled Ireland fans belief we had the next Robbie Keane coming through.
His first professional debut came some months later against Colchester United in the EFL Cup. The new Spurs Manager, Jose Mourinho gave Parrott his first Premier League match on December 19th, in a 5-0 win against Burnley. Fans were now thinking Parrott was going to earn a place in the Spurs first team thereafter and when that didn’t happen they were questioning Mourinho for not putting his faith in Parrott, especially when they had an injury crisis in January and February of 2020. With hindsight, Mourinho was correct as Parrott was clearly not ready for the rigors of the Premier League. And in truth very few 18-year-olds are.
His situation is similar to lottery-style games such as keno slots. Ireland will either win the lottery with Parrott or lose it all. Things should be fairly clearer this year, especially after Parrott has found his form.
With opportunities scarce, Parrott was loaned off to Millwall in August 2020. After a disappointing scoreless spell there, he was loaned to Ipswich in January 2021. He needed 11 matches to score his first goal for the club, crowning a string of solid but unspectacular performances with his first senior goal.
While his loan spells haven’t quite worked out as everyone had hoped, he is still highly valued at Spurs, it wasn’t too long ago that Harry Kane was a youth player loaned out and didn’t score. Former boss Pochettino, rated Parrott and who knows if he was still at the club would Parrott have gotten more first team chances?
His new manager at Ipswich, Paul Cook has said he was impressed with him and he said of his debut goal; “It’s great for him to get his goal. He’s worked so hard in games. His work rate and desire is relentless, but from there he’s got to get goals. Flair players in teams have to score.”
Wise words from Cook, who is a manager that likes his teams to play neat attacking football, a style that will surely suit Parrott. A style not to dissimilar to Kenny’s.
At the minute Ireland are in a terrible goal scoring rut and we are desperate for Parrott to make it but we need to be patient as some players take longer than others to mature. Parrott, like Caoimhin Kelleher are players that boss Stephen Kenny expects to break into his team and go on to have long careers with Ireland.
There is a good chance that Parrot will get game time in our next three games, and if he were to score against Serbia it would be like winning the lottery, if your not in you can’t win as they say.
Words Alan Phelan