Saturday 20 October 2018

Harry Kane's Tottenham path the ideal template for Irish teenager Troy Parrott

Troy Parrott, 10, of Republic of Ireland celebrates scoring with teammates from left, Jason Knight, Cameron Ledwidge and Barry Coffey during the UEFA U17 Championship Finals Group C match between Bosnia & Herzegovina and Republic of Ireland at St George's Park, in Burton-upon-Trent, England. Photo: Malcolm Couzens/Sportsfile
Troy Parrott, 10, of Republic of Ireland celebrates scoring with teammates from left, Jason Knight, Cameron Ledwidge and Barry Coffey during the UEFA U17 Championship Finals Group C match between Bosnia & Herzegovina and Republic of Ireland at St George's Park, in Burton-upon-Trent, England. Photo: Malcolm Couzens/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

It's still very early days for Troy Parrott.

The star of Ireland's U-17 European Championship tilt in May is still eligible to play at that level next year when the competition is staged on these shores. There is plenty of time on his side.

However, the news that he has signed a first professional contract with Spurs has come as no surprise.

The Belvedere product has already been over and back to London on a regular basis and banging in goals for the Premier League club in representative tournaments.

Indeed, Martin O'Neill has already heard from his old Northern Ireland team-mate Pat Jennings about the promising Dubliner.

Jennings, the Spurs icon, was detailing that Parrott had already been given the once over by the first team staff.

So they were never going to let him go and he will now join the Londoners' U-18 squad as a professional footballer.

His performances in the U-17 event in England did attract interest from other clubs and, interestingly, it's understood that Harry Kane's brother is advising his career path.

Kane is the perfect role model to follow, given that Spurs nurtured him carefully and he improved from year to year before eventually making a stunning breakthrough at first level - with a clever use of the loan circuit along the way toughening him up.

Parrott has racked up the goals in his short career, but the inner-city talent has shown on the international sphere that there is more strings to his bow.

For Colin O'Brien's side, he was deployed on the right side of midfield and also as a number 10 and his headline-grabbing asset was his impeccable set-piece execution.

That marked him out as something different and he was referenced by O'Neill yesterday as he spoke about the promising U-17 crop that have raised hopes about Ireland's future.

Many of them are at decent clubs, but getting picked up as teenagers is not always the hardest part - it's their ability to stay there.

Players have to be given time to grow. Recent Irish history is littered with players who signed their first deal to great fanfare and then failed to cope with the expectations when the going got tough.

That's why there is a responsibility to temper the hype. Ireland desperately need a new star to emerge and the main problem is that the shortage of natural goalscorers at senior level or at the older end of the under-age section.

Therefore, the exploits of Parrott and Norwich's Adam Idah - a Cork youngster who also has an eye for goal - has increased optimism levels about the road ahead.

The fact that a routine announcement involving Parrott became a news story suggests that Ireland is already expecting a lot. Kane's steady evolution highlights the value of patience.

Irish Independent

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