What's new

Loan Watch Troy Parrott - Excelsior Rotterdam

theShiznit

Well-Known Member
Jul 26, 2004
18,258
24,632
If he passes it, it's offside. Other player should have held back a bit to stay behind the ball if he wanted the pass.
Yeah I thought that initially but Troy didn't even look. And when he shoots the guy beside him Is behind the ball.

Either way it was a terrible shot that went in.

Can't blame him for getting a bit excited and going for it though. But in a big game that situation has to be a goal and 9/10 times that finish would not be.
 

spurs9

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2012
12,097
35,306
One thing that clip didn't show, is that Parrott actually starts the move with a tackle in his own box. Might not be a silky goal, but he shows great determination here.

Here is a clip showing the start of the move.

 

spurs9

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2012
12,097
35,306
Yeah I thought that initially but Troy didn't even look. And when he shoots the guy beside him Is behind the ball.

Either way it was a terrible shot that went in.

Can't blame him for getting a bit excited and going for it though. But in a big game that situation has to be a goal and 9/10 times that finish would not be.
Still looks offside the moment he shoots to me.

1717548905584.png
 

theShiznit

Well-Known Member
Jul 26, 2004
18,258
24,632
Lol at Ronaldo there...

During the anthem he was just standing there as the camera panned across the team and when he realized the camera was about to get to him, he grabbed the hand of a young disabled girl (mascot) ahead of him.

Never change Ron. :rolleyes:

Let's hope Troy can take Pepe to the cleaners.
 

theShiznit

Well-Known Member
Jul 26, 2004
18,258
24,632
Ireland have been awful.
Can't keep the ball at all with little options in possession.

TBF to Troy he's been the only one that's offered any hold up play .
 

werty

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2005
25,289
26,876
We're pretty shit so it's hard to judge him watching us, but I'm fairly confident in saying he's not suited to the role he's been asked to play for us. I would like to see him leading the line.
 

theShiznit

Well-Known Member
Jul 26, 2004
18,258
24,632
We're pretty shit so it's hard to judge him watching us, but I'm fairly confident in saying he's not suited to the role he's been asked to play for us. I would like to see him leading the line.
Yeah RWF doesn't seem a great fit.
He found himself in good space on a few occasions and wasn't found.

Not a bad thing though to have to think about how you can effect games in different positions and systems.
 

werty

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2005
25,289
26,876
Yeah RWF doesn't seem a great fit.
He found himself in good space on a few occasions and wasn't found.

Not a bad thing though to have to think about how you can effect games in different positions and systems.
I just dont see much creativity or vision in his game to play that role. He's decent at holding onto the ball with his back to goal and is good at drawing fouls, but that's about it. Maybe people who have seen him at youth levels or on loan will have a differing opinion. But everytime he's played for Ireland it's either in a similar role to last night or as a number ten, and I don't think he's looked good at either. Even when we've played teams at our level or lower.

The one excellent attribute I think he has is his movement and timing of runs in behind, which is why I'd like to see him playing as a No.9 more often.
 

Coolpudge

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2006
1,317
1,318
I just dont see much creativity or vision in his game to play that role. He's decent at holding onto the ball with his back to goal and is good at drawing fouls, but that's about it. Maybe people who have seen him at youth levels or on loan will have a differing opinion. But everytime he's played for Ireland it's either in a similar role to last night or as a number ten, and I don't think he's looked good at either. Even when we've played teams at our level or lower.

The one excellent attribute I think he has is his movement and timing of runs in behind, which is why I'd like to see him playing as a No.9 more often.
Alasdair Gold said that Troy had talked about how the Eredivise had suited him this season because it’s a more technical league and that suits his game.
 

Coolpudge

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2006
1,317
1,318
https://www.nytimes.com/athletic/55...-tottenham-future/?source=user_shared_article

From Jay Harris on the Athletic


Radu Dragusin’s impressive performance for Romania in their 3-0 victory over Ukraine at Euro 2024 and Micky van de Ven’s cameo as the Netherlands beat Poland have been the main on-pitch headlines from Tottenham Hotspur’s international stars over the last couple of weeks.

However, the most eye-catching performance came from a player who spent last season out on loan. Troy Parrott came off the bench when the Republic of Ireland faced Hungaryin a friendly at the beginning of June and, with virtually the last kick of the game, scored on the counter to seal a 2-1 victory.


Parrott had been back in his own penalty area to defend a late set piece, which he cleared, before forcing an error that led to a counter-attack from which he scored.

That display of tenacity had been commonplace during his loan spell in the Dutch top flight with Excelsior Rotterdam, where he may just have reignited a career that looked to have been fizzling out.


That Ireland goal came hot on the heels of the 22-year-old scoring back-to-back hat-tricks at club level in what proved to be a doomed attempt to avoid relegation from the Eredivisie.

Now, with Parrott entering the final 12 months of his contract at Spurs, he and the club face some big decisions over his future.


Troy Parrott grew up in Dublin and started his career with local side Belvedere before joining Spurs at the age of 16.

By the time he made his senior debut at 17 in a Carabao Cup tie against Colchester United in September 2019, there was already plenty of chatter among fans that he could be the next youngster to break into the first-team squad, following on from recent graduates Oliver Skipp, Kyle Walker-Peters, Harry Winks and, of course, Harry Kane, who was deemed the perfect role model for Parrott. His Premier League debut came shortly afterwards, when he came off the bench in a 5-0 victory over Burnley.

In February 2020, he was rewarded with a new contract at Tottenham but, a month later, the club’s head coach Jose Mourinho warned him about his attitude. At that stage, Parrott was training regularly with the first team but playing regularly for the under-23s.

After one such match against Wolverhampton Wanderers, in which Parrott scored, Mourinho said: “I was so happy with the way he performed and I’m not speaking about his goal.

“I told him before the game: ‘Every time you play with the kids of your age, you have to show your colleagues why you are the privileged one’. Because it was something he was not doing. Every time he was playing with the kids, he was playing with the mentality of, ‘I shouldn’t be here’ or, ‘I am too good to be here’.


“I had exactly the same words with Scott McTominay (at Manchester United). He was not loved in his age group because he was not there with the right frame of mind. The moment we started changing that, lots of things started changing for him. Troy cannot go there (the under‑age teams) with discontent, contempt. It is a process. So everything goes very, very well.”

Parrott made four appearances for the first team during the 2019-20 season but has not played for them since. Over the last four years he has spent time on loan with Millwall, Ipswich Town, Milton Keynes Dons, Preston North End and Excelsior Rotterdam. He started 21 times for Preston in the Championship during the 2022-23 campaign and only scored three times. The forward’s expected goals tally, which measures the quality of chances a team produces, was only 5.6. He underperformed but the service he received was not exactly reliable.

In an interview with The Athletic in April 2022, while he was with MK Dons, Parrott admitted: “At 16 or 17, I thought I was good and I didn’t realise how much I had to learn about the game. I thought everything would be plain sailing and I’ve learned the hard way that in football it’s not.”

Parrott was convinced to join Excelsior on loan by their manager Marinus Dijkhuizen who had a brief spell in charge of Brentfordin 2015. Dijkhuizen wanted Parrott to focus his energy on finding good positions in the box and gave him examples of other young players he had helped to improve.


Parrott struggled with a hamstring injury this year and received a needless red card after the full-time whistle in a 4-0 victory over Volendam for flicking the ear of an opponent during a scuffle, but he shone with 10 goals in 25 games, including a late winner in their local derby against Sparta Rotterdam.

Excelsior finished 16th in the Eredivisie, which meant they had to compete in a play-off series to avoid relegation to the second tier. Parrott scored a hat-trick in the second leg of their 9-2 aggregate victory over ADO Den Haag in the semi-finals.


Dijkhuizen’s side were thrashed 6-2 in the first leg of the final by NAC Breda. Parrott spearheaded a remarkable comeback in the second leg, as he scored another hat-trick to level the tie at 6-6 on aggregate. But NAC scored a crucial goal in the second half to condemn Excelsior to relegation. Parrott chipped in with seven goals and one assist across the four play-off games but it was not enough to save them. This took his overall tally to 22 direct goal involvements in 32 matches.

His first goal in the second leg against Breda highlighted the threat he offers running in behind defenders. Lazaros Lamprou receives the ball on the left wing, moves inside with his first touch and plays a delicate through ball into space for Parrott to chase.

IMG_0605.jpeg


Parrott cleverly uses his body to protect the ball from Breda’s centre-back Jan van den Bergh and lets it roll across him.

IMG_0606.jpeg


Parrott charges ahead of Van den Bergh and calmly slots the ball past Pepijn van de Merbel.

IMG_0607.jpeg



Parrott scored a lot of goals by running into the left channel and exploiting his speed. On multiple occasions, he scored tap-ins from drilled crosses into the six-yard box — a tactic Postecoglou loves. He can score with both feet too.

In Excelsior’s 4-2 defeat to Twente in December, Redouan El Yaakoubi makes an interception and pings the ball forward

IMG_0608.jpeg


Parrott latches onto the ball just outside the box.

IMG_0609.jpeg


And fires a shot with his left foot past Lars Unnerstall before Robin Propper can make a block.

IMG_0610.jpeg

Parrott’s first goal against ADO might be the most impressive. Excelsior try to play up the pitch but are forced to go backwards to goalkeeper Stijn van Gassel, who clears it under pressure.

IMG_0611.jpeg

The ball floats inside Den Haag’s half towards the right wing and Parrott moves in front of Matteo Waem.

IMG_0612.jpeg

Parrott is ushered towards the corner flag by Waem and Joel Ideho but manages to escape and finds Kenzo Goudmijn. The midfielder executes a slick first-time pass straight back to Parrott.

IMG_0613.jpeg

The forward sneaks in behind Den Haag’s defence and cheekily chips the goalkeeper Nick Marsman.

IMG_0614.jpeg

“I’ve loved it over there (in the Netherlands),” Parrott said following Ireland’s win against Hungary. “It’s been everything I hoped would happen when I first decided to go over, so I’m buzzing. It’s more technical over there, you have to use your brain a lot more rather than just being physical. It’s suited me and how the season has gone has shown that.”


What happens now depends on a couple of factors. Spurs only played 41 games last season and that number will significantly increase with their participation in the expanded version of the Europa League. Richarlison was the only natural No 9, apart from 20-year-old Dane Scarlett, in Postecoglou’s squad last season and there were mixed results when he was unavailable. Son Heung-min and Timo Werner can fill in centrally but it is not their strongest position.

Parrott could be a useful alternative to Richarlison in the Europa League and other cup competitions but, after a couple of seasons of starting regularly, moving to a bench role might not be the best for his development.

If Parrott leaves Spurs should be able to earn a decent amount of money following his performances in the Eredivisie but it would have been unthinkable, four and a half years ago, that he might never play for them again.
 

EQP

EQP
Sep 1, 2013
8,181
30,657
According to ITK, the club are looking to give Parrott a chance this season.

If true, I can see him impressing Ange and all the other coaches.

I've been quite impressed with Troy's overall growth and mindset shift over the years. I remember an interview he did in 2022 with the Athletic, where he spoke about the importance on maturing and making sure to make the most of this opportunity.



For Troy Parrott, it’s been a season of renewal.

After a difficult year spent on loan at Millwall and then Ipswich Town, the Tottenham Hotspur striker has had a very encouraging campaign at MK Dons.

He has registered a healthy eight goals and seven assists in League One (often playing out wide or as a No 10), and has become a favourite with the club’s coaches and fans for his prodigious work rate.

It’s been some turnaround after last season, and even from the period earlier in this campaign when Parrott found himself out of the team.

At that stage, Parrott admits his head dropped and there were times when he wasn’t giving his all in training. He realised something had to change, and his attitude has been exemplary ever since.

“It’s not one big thing that’s changed,” he tells The Athletic at the hotel next to Stadium MK. “Just tweaking little things, like if I’m not in the team not getting down and tossing off training a bit because I’m not playing. Making sure I’m training in the best way I can and then taking the opportunity when I am playing.

“That’s where I’ve matured a lot over the season. I played every game until Shewsbury away and then I was dropped and I was a bit pissed off, as you would be.

“I was feeling down, feeling a bit sorry for myself that I wasn’t playing. The way to get back to where I am now was just to train how I play every day.”

Parrott’s change in attitude and fortunes followed discussions with the MK Dons manager Liam Manning, but mainly it came from within. He started to sleep better, eat better, train better and cut out the late-night gaming. There was a realisation that he couldn’t waste the opportunity he had been given — at MK Dons but more generally as a professional footballer of such considerable talent.

Because going further back, Parrott, still only 20, was the boy wonder at Spurs. The Next Big Thing, the new Harry Kane. A striker that seemingly had it all — the strength, the touch, the finishing ability.

His career up until the point of his first-team debut as a 17-year-old three years ago had just been one big upward curve.

Growing up in Dublin, he only started playing properly as a footballer aged 12. By 13, he had attracted interest from a host of English clubs, by 16, he joined the Spurs academy. A year later, he was making his first start and then Premier League debut as well as winning his first cap for the Republic of Ireland. Parrott admits now that he just presumed the train would keep on rolling, all the way to him becoming a Spurs striker with barely a hitch.

“That is what I thought was going to happen,” he says, speaking throughout with a remarkable level of introspection and candour for one so young. “People always said there were going to be ups and downs and I always thought maybe there are for other people but I don’t think that’s going to happen for me. But as I’ve learned last season and part of this season, football’s not easy. It’s not just going to happen — you need to try and make it happen if that’s the level you want to play at.

“I can be completely honest and open about it because that is the reality of what happened: I did think that everything was going to be a straight line up, and that’s not the way it goes.”

He admits he believed those who were telling him at the start of 2020 that he should have been in the Spurs first team, when injuries to Kane and Son Heung-min meant there was a huge clamour for Parrott, who had just turned 18, to be thrust into the role of the club’s saviour.

It was a head-spinning time for Parrott but with a bit of distance, he can now reflect on what it was like to face that kind of pressure as a teenager. What it was like checking social media after his underwhelming first-team debut against Colchester in September 2019.

“When I was younger I used to look at a lot of stuff that was being written about me and it used to get into my head,” he says. “After I didn’t have a great game at Colchester, suddenly there was a lot of stuff being said on the internet — people saying I wasn’t good enough. It did get to me a lot, so I tried to stay away from that side of social media. It can be a dangerous place.”

Despite only turning 20 in February, Parrott has packed a lot in already — that old title of supposed saviour at Spurs can be copied and pasted for the Irish national team, who are desperate for a new star. Parrott has already scored three goals at international level, including a stunning 97th-minute winner against Lithuania last month.

He could end up being the hero for MK Dons as well, who still have a chance of winning automatic promotion to the Championship if they beat Plymouth Argyle on Saturday. Parrott has scored three spectacular goals for MK Dons in the last few weeks, and the view in his home country is that he tends to be the man for the big occasion. Saturday, or a possible play-off final at Wembley, could be just that.

After some setbacks, the next few weeks — and indeed years — promise to be exciting for Parrott, who still dreams of establishing himself as a Tottenham striker.

Having grown up in one of the most deprived parts of Dublin, Parrott became a national sensation when he was barely in his teens as his goalscoring exploits for Belvedere FC started to attract the interest of scouts from Premier League clubs such as Everton and Spurs. The latter eventually pushed hardest to sign him, and after some time training at the club, he officially signed on his 16th birthday in 2018.

“As a young kid you watch these players and think, ‘Wow’, and then you’re next to them and it’s a bit crazy. But as you train more and more you get to know them and they’re just really good people — more friends than anything.

“Serge Aurier helped me quite a bit. He was always talking to me and making sure I was doing things properly. A lot of jokes as well, but more importantly the on-pitch stuff — where I should be, making sure I was giving my best every day.

“Ben Davies is good as well, and Dele Alli is a really close friend. He’s also one that helped me when I went up into the first team, just as someone I could talk to. It’s a bit nerve-wracking, and he was really good with that. If I was standing on my own he’d come and talk to me.”

Was Parrott aware of the pressure that, even then, extended to back home in Ireland?

“Since I was about 14, I would always have family members sending me pictures of articles and stuff. I tried not to consider it, but there is a stage at which it creeps in. Everyone’s praising you and wants you to do so well and then you have one bad game and it’s, ‘Oh he’s not ready, he’s not this, he’s not that. We thought he was this’.

“At 16/17, I thought I was good and I didn’t realise how much I had to learn about the game. I thought everything would be plain sailing and I’ve learned the hard way that in football it’s not.”

To be fair to Parrott, many others thought his journey would be straightforward as well. There was so much excitement around him at this time, when he looked like a man against boys in academy football. He had already scored against Inter Milan and Barcelona as a 16-year-old in the 2018-19 UEFA Youth League, and by the following season, he was clearly a cut above.

In a game against Red Star Belgrade in October 2019, Parrott scored four times. He was so hungry for goals he argued with Harvey White over who would take a free kick as he sought a fifth. “That’s just how I was though — I wanted more,” he says, laughing.

A month earlier, Parrott had made his debut for the Spurs first team under Mauricio Pochettino, as he started to realise just how big a step up it would be to that level.

“It was another reality check,” he says. “I didn’t play great (against Colchester), I kept dropping too far away from the goal. I just thought it was harder than it seems.

“But I loved working under him (Pochettino). He was always wanting to help me at every opportunity he could. Just talking to me and he gave me my debut, which I’m massively grateful for.

“There was a lot of out-of-possession work — getting back into position, pressing. At that age, the physicality… I thought, ‘Jesus, I’m tired. My legs are jelly, but it’s normal for the other players — they’re doing it easily’. And even then, the coaches are saying keep going, get back into position, do this, do that. They were 100 per cent right but I wasn’t physically fit enough… that’s one of the main things that sticks out.

“I felt like my lungs were about to fall out.”

The gruelling effort required at first-team level contrasted with the apparent ease of youth football, as Parrott scored two excellent goals as a substitute for the Ireland Under-21s in an away win at Sweden the same month as the Colchester game.

Pochettino was replaced by Jose Mourinho soon after, and Parrott was given his Premier League debut in December 2019 as a late substitute against Burnley, a few weeks after he had won his first senior international cap. Mourinho, who Parrott enjoyed working with, even gave the youngster the match ball after the game as a sign of his appreciation. To some, it felt as though he was being anointed as Kane’s successor.

The urgency of that succession plan unexpectedly intensified soon after when Spurs lost Kane and Son to injuries at the start of 2020. It was an extraordinary situation looking back, as Mourinho was forced to answer questions at pretty much every press conference about why he was resisting playing Parrott, who had only just turned 18 and who Spurs had planned to loan out to Charlton Athletic. On one occasion, Mourinho even said that most Spurs fans, despite their demands for Parrott’s inclusion, didn’t even know what the Irishman looked like.

Did Parrott himself believe the hype? Or at least those who were saying he should be getting first-team minutes? “Yeah, that is what happened,” he says. “At times, you believe it, but there are also times when you need to have your eyes open and see how far away you are from what the team needs. Physically, I was nowhere near strong enough to play at that level.

“I understand now why I wasn’t playing. I was still a kid — I’m still a kid now, but I’ve learned a bit. If I had the mindset I have now back then I might have got more minutes than I did. But no there’s no thought about that anymore — it’s gone, in the past. When I look back at the player I was then compared to where I am now, I’ve grown so much.”

Parrott did get some game time in this period, an 89th-minute substitute appearance against Wolves in the league and then most of extra time in the FA Cup tie against Norwich. During the latter, Parrott ended up having his penalty saved in the shootout defeat, having been the first player to put his hand up to take one when the game finished, despite his inexperience. “In that moment, I was fearless. But missing was really hard,” says Parrott. That was March 2020, and it remains his most recent appearance for Spurs.

At around this time, there were also question marks about Parrott’s focus and maturity. Pictures of him on holiday in Dubai with Dele during the February 2020 winter break fed into a perception that he was flashy and was starting to believe the hype around him.

“That annoyed me,” he says. “People are going to talk and criticise, but these people don’t actually know what I’m like. You can’t get down about it, but sometimes you just wish you could talk to these people so they could actually see what you’re like as a person.

“Some of the stuff was fair to say — I was still a kid, and playing PlayStation until one or two in the morning, stuff like that. There were no drastic things that were wrong, I was just doing what 18-year-olds do.”

As for the suggestions of flashiness, Parrott understands why some might have felt like that towards him, but he adds: “Growing up I didn’t have the best of everything, not the best of clothes. I had everything I needed and my mum’s been really good, but I like nice things. I’ve worked pretty hard to get to where I’ve got to and if I want to have those things, I’ll have those things. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to give my all when I’m playing football, or be thinking about other things when playing football. That stuff just doesn’t come into it.”
 

EQP

EQP
Sep 1, 2013
8,181
30,657
For now, Parrott is enjoying being a bit more under the radar after having so much focus on him at such a young age.

“I just needed to get away and focus on myself again,” he says. “That’s what I’ve been able to do here — focusing on football and doing well again.”

MK Dons has proved to be a perfect loan club for Parrott. They play expansive football under Manning, the young manager who has always been on hand to offer Parrott extra tips or video analysis. The club’s coaches in general have done an excellent job with the young striker.

Parrott feels fitter than ever and is regularly topping the club charts for distance covered and top speeds reached. He has made sure his sleeping, eating and training are all on point, and is reaping the rewards. Staying after training to work on elements of his game like shooting and what runs to make have become commonplace after a summer spent working with a personal trainer to improve his fitness. Seeing the dedication of Kane up close has been an inspiration in this regard.

It’s helped as well that Parrott feels settled off the pitch. He is living with his mum and younger sister (12 years old) and brother (two), close to Stadium MK and training ground in Milton Keynes, and is enjoying having a full house and living close to his team-mates. He’s spending his day off this week playing a round of golf. Last season, he lived on his own, and it’s easy to forget how hard it can be for young players coming over to a new country and then either living in digs with other families or on their own. “It’s been really good for me having my family around,” he says. “Having someone there when I’m coming back after a tough game or tough training session.”

On and off the field, this season has been a big contrast with 2020-21, when he didn’t score for Millwall before doing so just twice at Ipswich. “There are no excuses for it because I’ve had challenges this year and I’ve come through it on the other side,” he says.

“When I first went to Millwall I got injured, which kept me out for a little bit. I wasn’t playing as much as I’d like to and it was a bit of a shock for me going from Championship down to League One with Ipswich.”

Parrott adds that while last year he struggled not holding down one position, this year he has seen the positives in learning several different roles, having played a lot on the right, sometimes as a central striker (as he always did in the Spurs academy) and more recently as a No 10. His most familiar position is centre-forward but he says he doesn’t mind where he plays and that his versatility should help him get more playing time wherever he ends up.

Watching back clips of some of his goals and assists, Parrott explains what he thinks his best assets are.

“The first is movement,” he says. “Especially coming from deeper positions, like when the striker drops and the centre-back comes in with them, I’m really quick to notice the space in behind.

“Finishing has always been up there, and I think it’s cleverness, really. I’m not the fastest or strongest — I have to use my head more because I don’t think I have those things to get me out of trouble. But I can use my body to manipulate the ball to keep it.”

Discussing his second goal against Cheltenham in March, Parrott makes the run in behind the defence on three separate occasions, eventually receiving the ball and burying the chance.

“At the start of the clip when Theo Corbeanu has the ball, I could make the run down the line and think about crossing for someone else to score,” he explains.

“But I realised the space is in the middle and I could score myself here.

“And having scored already I had no thought in my head about passing. I was only shooting.”

Parrott made a similar run for a well-taken goal against Charlton in August.

“This is what I was talking about — recognising the gaps,” he says. “There are huge spaces in there and there are lots of players in the team who can make those passes.

“I’ve always been clever with my movement. I don’t have blistering pace but I can run.”

This goal is also on his left foot, and emulating the two-footedness of Spurs forwards Kane and Son is important to Parrott.

“It’s massive to be able to go both ways in the box,” he says. “It’s predictable otherwise and they can show you onto your weaker foot and maybe get a block. If you can go with both feet it keeps them guessing.”

Linked to smart movement is anticipation, and it’s this, the more unseen side of his game, that has led to two of the most spectacular goals of his career in the last couple of weeks.

First, the late winner for Ireland against Lithuania.

“It’s just about anticipating where the ball’s going to go,” Parrott says.

“Hoping that it falls to the edge of the box…”

“That week I trained really well,” he says. “I’m the first to admit when I’m doing things wrong but I’ll also say when I’m doing things right. And I felt sharp in front of goal in all the drills we were doing. The proof is in the pudding.”

Of the volley against MK Dons’ big rivals AFC Wimbledon earlier this month, Parrott says: “I’ve got a bit of a connection with Skip (Dean Lewington). I know when he gets on the ball to make a run because he’s going to play it, or at least look for it, and the space just opened at the back post. It was a good goal — a big goal for us in the derby.”

The fact those two goals were within a couple of weeks of each other, and part of a run of four goals in five games, is no coincidence. Confidence is a word Parrott uses a lot, and it was coursing through him by the time of the Wimbledon game. “Confidence is such a massive thing, especially as a striker,” he says. “But what I’ve learned this season is when you’re not scoring and the confidence isn’t there, it’s about having the work rate to keep being the best you can be.”

Parrott also likes to play between the lines and set up his team-mates, as he did for Hiram Boateng in the December defeat to Oxford United.

“I’ve always had that in my game,” he says. “I like to drop deep and get involved in the game. There’s a balance though of trying to keep the centre-backs pinned back so our No 10s can get on the ball. There’s also an element of where I drop deep then the boys playing No 10 have to get in behind and that’s a good connection I have with them.”

“Here, Hiram opens up the space and then he makes the run. If he doesn’t then I have to pass backwards.”

As is so often the case with Parrott, Kane is an obvious reference point as someone who likes to score and assist.

Is the England captain someone Parrott consciously models his game on, and do the constant comparisons bother him?

“Obviously I want to be my own player,” Parrott says. “But Kane is so good in terms of his finishing, his passing — why wouldn’t I try and take little bits from there? But it’s not only taking bits from Kane because he plays for Tottenham. It’s taking things wherever you can that will make you better. It’s not annoying in any way (the comparisons), it’s just how it is.

“When you see him on TV you don’t get to see him going to the gym before training, you don’t get to see the way he trains every day. So these are the main things you get to see up close — even now, as good as he is at finishing, he’s still doing extras, still trying to get better. Even when people think his finishing probably can’t really improve. Just not settling.

“That’s something everyone should take. There’s no downside to having that relentlessness in your game. I look at that and think to be at that level these are the things you need to do.”

Parrott also points to the front three of Liverpool, who he supported growing up, as an example of how hard the best forwards work.

“That’s the thing with training and work rate — you get a 7/10 if you run around and help the team, and do the basics well,” he says. “Then if you score or do other things it goes up to a nine. So those are the minimum things I need to give at this stage.”

As the season comes to a close, inevitably the focus will soon move to the future.

In the immediate term, Spurs plan to trigger the one-year extension in Parrott’s contract, thereby tying him down until the summer of 2024, and then loan him out again next season. That could be to a Championship or League One club — possibly even MK Dons again if they win promotion to the second tier.

Parrott insists he’s only thinking about the end of the season with MK Dons, but that whatever happens, he will have benefited hugely from this season, as well as the difficulties he’s experienced in the last couple of years. “It’s almost a good thing it hasn’t all gone my own way,” he says. “It’s almost brought me back to reality — it’s shown me this isn’t easy.

“But a lot of the time I feel like I’m living the dream — I get paid to do what I love every day. I’ve played in amazing stadiums, and playing for Ireland is massive. On my debut, I remember thinking that the game didn’t go on long enough. Playing for Ireland is really special.”

And the ambition of becoming a regular for Spurs still burns brightly.

Parrott hasn’t yet spoken to head coach Antonio Conte, and it will be a big ask for him to eventually work his way into the team. So few academy graduates successfully make that leap.

A couple of Parrott’s near peers Oliver Skipp (21) and Japhet Tanganga (23) have done that, though, offering a reminder that the pathway is there.

“Japh and I went on our first pre-season tour together (in 2019) and he kicked on from there. My path’s gone a little bit differently, but I think the end goal for both of us is the same. Obviously it motivates me to keep going and keep doing the best I can do to get back there.

“I’ve had the dream of playing for Spurs since I was 14 and I first started going over there. I’ve always said that I want to play there, I want to play in that team. Nothing’s changed at this point. That’s still the goal.”
 
Top