Friday 23 August 2019

David Kelly: 'Keane could take Parrott under his wing if young gun struggles to earn his Spurs'


Exciting talent: Troy Parrott may be better served by going out on loan. Photo: Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images
Exciting talent: Troy Parrott may be better served by going out on loan. Photo: Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images
David Kelly

David Kelly

Within ten days in June, Kiev staged a Champions League final and Dublin a drab Irish international.

Nothing should have suggested that either occasion had anything in common, or indeed any person to link the two evenings.

Yet, for Spurs and Ireland fans, there was the simplest bond; the universal, endless yearning for a goal - any goal - and somebody to score it.

As Spurs laboured to retrieve a stunning early deficit with an equally laboured Harry Kane, out of tune and out of touch, the sense was that Mauricio Pochettino's men were struggling to unfurl a goal-scoring option.

Nine days later, Mick McCarthy would be in charge when none amongst the slew of strikers who fetched up for duty against Gibraltar had experienced the feeling of scoring an international goal.

That grim June evening, even in victory against the hapless minnows, did nothing to alter that particular state of affairs.

And for current disciples of the national side, constantly reminded of an over-hyped glorious past and the illusory promise of a brighter future, the frustrations of the present tugged ever more violently on the sleeve.

A bit like Spurs, that! Soccer's quest for the next big things transcends borders.

Which prompts the unlikely name of Troy Parrott who, despite not scoring a senior goal for either club or country, has already evoked a fervour of anticipation within both the Spurs and Irish football families.

When Spurs old boy and record goal-scorer for Ireland Robbie Keane returned last May, he and the recuperating Kane spent some time discussing the progress of the Belvedere protégé.

Keane was even more impressed when he saw him in action; the quiet determination of the 17-year-old stirred memories of when he was a similar age, already tracing the first impressive footprints of a remarkable journey towards the summit of success.

However, Keane would have also recognised that the conjoining of fate and opportunity might become just as important a factor in the shining of this diamond than any obvious ability.

Presuming Spurs don't unveil another signing and Fernando Llorente relents on penning a new deal, both reasonable assumptions, Parrott may find himself jostling for a place with Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura.

These are suitable circumstances - especially for one so precocious - to maintain a steady graph of progression towards establishing a place as a viable first-team squad player, if not a more than occasional starter.

However, if another striker is signed, and Llorente stubbornly stays put, Parrott could find himself no nearer the action than he was last season.

And any chances of him accelerating into an Irish senior side desperate to locate a source of goals might be stymied, too.

But there may be another way for Parrott to shine.

What Keane also extracted from his intelligence mission last spring was the recollection from England captain Kane that his own professional path was not always as smooth as it might seem in the reflected glory of his present stature.

Spurs sent him on a series of loan spells - four in all - before he finally established himself at the club under Pochettino; such an arrested development is now a familiar trope within a much-changed English domestic landscape.

Keane is also assistant at Middlesbrough, who begin their Championship campaign this evening promising attractive football but struggling to assemble a decent cast list of goal-scorers.

Keane has already urged the young Parrott to seek the prospect of a loan deal; were it to emerge under the tutelage of Ireland's greatest goal-scorer, who could impart sustained education outside limited international windows, a suitable arrangement could benefit all parties.

If Parrott is the newest natural goal-scorer Spurs and Ireland crave, it would be better for all if he gets regular opportunities somewhere to show what he can do.

Irish Independent

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