Tottenham Hotspur were stuck in a bit of a rut. Their inability to sign a striker in the winter left them reeling and the injury sustained by Son Heung Min left them even worse. The losses to Chelsea and Wolves saw many Spurs fans demand Jose Mourinho to at least try playing Troy Parrott in the first-team.
That hasn’t really happened. The sight of Parrott being given the Man of the Match ball by Harry Kane after a 5-0 win over Burnley seems far-fetched now. While that was a sign that Mourinho would use the Irishman soon, nothing of note has gone on. Despite that, Spurs fans should not worry too much.
That isn’t to say that the striker situation isn’t concerning though. Since Son was injured, Spurs have scored only thrice in three games, leading to the Asian handicap bookmakers lengthening the odds on Spurs qualifying for Europe next season. One has been an own-goal, with the other two coming against Wolves this past weekend. They’ve lacked the presence upfront- someone who can hold up play and get others involved in the game.
As for Parrott, he has scored six times in four UEFA Youth League appearances. He also has one goal during that time. In the Premier League 2, he has two goals in just one appearance. That tells one a lot about his level currently. He’s scoring consistently and has already attracted Mourinho’s attention.
At the age of 18, Parrott has already made his Ireland national team. He was fast-tracked into the first-team after having scored thrice in only two games for the Under-21s. That is a reflection of the fact that the player has a lot of ability up his sleeve. In our opinion, you need to register with vodds to back Parrott to score in his first Premier League start.
What makes his situation even stranger is how Spurs didn’t allow Parrott to leave on loan in January. That gave hope that maybe, Parrot would be used in the first-team under Mourinho. But somehow, he is yet to be there and it seems confusing why the club didn’t let him leave.
But Mourinho is someone who isn’t a manager who is too bothered about ability. During his time at Manchester United, he was constantly at loggerheads with players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba.
He was vocal about how he likes ‘mad dogs’- determined personalities in his team. He once said: “It doesn’t matter about the system. It has to do with the characteristics of the players and we don’t have many, with all the respect, mad dogs – the ones who bite the ball all the time and press all the time. We don’t have many with that spirit.”
Scott McTominay, who was then a youth player, came through the ranks under Jose. One key reason for that was the Scotland international’s tenacity. Mourinho liked it so much that he ended handed McTominay his own ‘Player of the Season’ award in 2018.
It shows that Mourinho isn’t too bothered about ability in young players. He wants them to like hungry tigers like McTominay was. He gave Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and John Terry the platform to succeed as youngsters because he saw ‘mad dogs’ in them.
While it isn’t known to the public if Parrott has that, there is a lot more in this. It was reported that Mourinho had a meeting with Parrott about off-field behaviour. There were reports in the media that Parrott was partying in Dubai with the son of a major drugs trafficker.
That is a red signal for Mourinho. He was never happy about Pogba’s off-field antics at United, stripping him off captaincy. He dropped the Frenchman against Liverpool for what became his last game at Old Trafford. Clearly, Parrott’s situation is more than just ability.
But that doesn’t mean that it is the end of his Tottenham career. If Parrott has that grit that Mourinho likes, he will be playing in the first-team. And when Mourinho plays a young player, he becomes a star.