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Parrott stuck in Spurs cage

Worry as Jose says Troy 'not ready'


Troy Parrott (pictured) has just signed a new deal with Spurs but is not considered ready for the first team by Jose Mourinho

Troy Parrott (pictured) has just signed a new deal with Spurs but is not considered ready for the first team by Jose Mourinho

Troy Parrott (pictured) has just signed a new deal with Spurs but is not considered ready for the first team by Jose Mourinho

He has what is often said to be the best job in the world, being a professional footballer.

He has youth, looks, money and popularity on his side, so it could be hard for some to feel sorry for Troy Parrott. Because it's not easy being green.

The 18-year-old is learning some harsh lessons about what it's like to be talked of as a player with immense talent but not being trusted to use those talents at club level.

At international level, although the signing of a new three-year deal is good news financially for the young Dubliner, Irish manager Mick McCarthy's clear preference is for the striker to be playing first-team football somewhere, anywhere, instead of relaxing in the comfort of a long-term deal at Spurs while kicking his heels, starved of game-time.

Even though his club, Spurs, face a severe lack of strikers for tonight's Champions League game against RB Leipzig, the Irish teenager is far from the thoughts of manager Jose Mourinho.

A long-term injury to Harry Kane did not open the door to the first team for Parrott, as we had all hoped.

Now, even with the prospect of another forward, Son Heung-min, being out for the foreseeable future with an injury, that door remains closed to Parrott.

Asked if Parrott could come into the side up front or if Ryan Sessegnon could be shunted into a forward role, Mourinho was dismissive. "My thoughts are that Parrott is not ready and that Sessegnon is not a striker," the Spurs boss said.

Maybe his honesty saved those of us on this side of the Irish Sea spending the day anxiously awaiting the team news... and then being deflated when Parrott didn't feature.

There was an earlier sign of how he rated Parrott when the ex-Belvedere lad was dropped from the Spurs A squad for the Champions League and demoted to the B list: in many ways a formality related to UEFA's red tape but also a sign that he had a long way to go to convince Mourinho that he is now a man and not a boy.

Parrott signed a new long-term deal with Spurs, committing him to the club until 2023, only 11 days ago, but even with no fit strikers available for the Leipzig tie, Mourinho sees no role for him.

We need to remember that Parrott is still very young, just gone 18, so it could be too early to panic.

But his lowly status in the Tottenham pecking order does pose questions.

It's also worth pointing out that Robbie Keane had played 45 first-team games, scored 11 goals in England's second tier and won four senior caps before he'd turned 18.

Parrott will look around the lads he knows from the talent-filled Ireland U21 squad and see team-mates like Dara O'Shea (West Brom), and Jayson Molumby (on loan to Millwall) receiving the benefits of first-team football every week.

After that flurry of excitement in December, when Parrott and Adam Idah played in the Premier League, they have fallen down the pecking order, and it's likely that the pair will have had no activity when McCarthy names his squad for the Euro 2020 play-off in Slovakia, hence Shane Long's recall from exile.

Eleven days into a three-year contract is too soon for Parrott to rue his career choice, but with younger Irish players like Sinclair Armstrong exploring their options with a trial at a Bundesliga club, Parrott may learn the hard way that getting a long-term contract from a Premier League club and playing for a Premier League club are conflicting worlds, with Irish football as collateral damage.