The Republic of Ireland national side is at something of a crossroads, with Martin Oâ€™Neill and Roy Keane leaving. Mick McCarthy is tasked with holding things together in the short term, before making way for the chosen one, Stephen Kenny. After a poor run of results (cough) with the under 21s that has gone back 10 years or more. Don Givens and Noel King were hopelessly out of their depth, and should never have been allowed to manage the Under 21s for the length of time they did.
With Kenny taking over the future is uncertain but at least optimistic, very soon though, a young man will come across Kennyâ€™s path in the youth set-up who could well be on a stepping stone to a long career with the National team. In the last squad named by Oâ€™Neill, there were no players from sides competing in the Champions League. And in the future it might be one or two players here and there at best.
Troy Parrott looks like he will be that next player. He has just signed a full time contract with Tottenham. And with the new stadium nearing completion and the costs associated with it, youth players if good enough will get a chance at the club. And with so many games and injuries Parrott might get a run out before the season ends. Keep an eye on Spurs games when you bet on Betfair.
Troy Parrott grew up in Dublin and played for Belvedere boys club before Spurs signed him this summer. He hails from the same part of north inner city Dublin as Wes Hoolahan, but plays as a central striker very much in the Harry Kane mould.
He announced himself to Spurs supporters in an FA Youth Cup clash in December, setting up Rodel Richards for a late winner with his side having been 2-1 down. Parrott ran 100 yards to hunt a loose ball before squaring to his teammate for the decisive goal. Whilst the Youth Cup is a long way from the glitz and glamour of the Premier League, his tenacity was the talk of the fans the next day.
Those who cared to look found out the Irish Under-19 international had 12 goals in 18 youth games for Spurs, with nine goals and three assists from six outings for the Under-18s. Heâ€™s also represented them in Europe scoring a wonderful goal for the Under-19s against Inter Milan. Heâ€™s spanned all age groups, turning out for the Under-23 side, too.
Parrott is a traditional number nine, currently not a particularly robust or bulky player. At 16, he may yet fill out, but he looks likely to develop into a player who relies on guile and craft rather than power. He can operate as a second striker and play out wide on the left, but the noises coming from his coaches are that heâ€™s a younger version of Harry Kane.
He might not be included in Stephen Kennyâ€™s early Under-21 squads, but if he keeps up the form that has seen him rise through the Spurs ranks so quickly, heâ€™ll be hard to ignore. He was a part of the Under-17 side that did so well in the European Championships reching the quarter finals, where he scored three goals from four game. He has played for the Under-19s, where he scored a hat trick against the mighty Faroe Islands.
With Robbie Keane long gone from the international scene, Ireland needs a new talisman, we might just have one ready to emerge.
Words Billy Coleman