Tottenham Hotspurs’ January transfer window was a quiet one on the strikers front as the club didn’t sign any striker even though its top hitman, Harry Kane, was out with injury. While many would panic at this, the club’s manager Jose Mourinho and other senior executives could have a strong reason for not signing a striker: the presence of young strikers such as Troy Parrott, an 18-year-old Irish striker whom the club wants to see develop in the role.
Similarly, there’s also another 18-year-old angling for more playing time in the same role. Kion Etete, who signed in the summer of 2019 from League Two outfit Notts County, has logged some first-team action in League Two and even made an appearance in the FA Cup. Etete suited up for Tottenham in an early February game but has seen his progress hampered by injury issues.
According to observers, Etete still has some ways to go in terms of his development as a striker. Measuring over 6 foot tall, he quite literally stands above many of his teammates and opponents while on the pitch. His skill is also undeniable. By joining the development squad at Tottenham, many are hoping that he finds the net regularly to boost his chances of first-team action.
Etete was 16 years of age when he made his debut, playing in the Football League Trophy against Newcastle United’s Under-21 team. According to Harry Kewell, who briefly managed Notts County, the player was excellent in his debut performance and showed good control of the ball while making life difficult for defenders.
Others have described him as a ‘throwback’ typical number nine who holds the ball up well and is good in the air. His quickness and power stand out, and under the guidance of Tottenham’s academy director John McDermott, the club is hoping he can improve throughout the season. He’s scored two goals in five games for the Spurs’ under-18s, a sign that he could potentially offer more.
Troy Parrott has been described as a special talent. While he doesn’t have Etete’s height or frame, he’s worked hard on his strength and composure to catch the eye of first-team manager Mourinho. Indeed, the latter believes that Parrott can become an impact player for the club, but that will only happen if the player puts in a lot more work. The coach also believes Parrott’s young age is an advantage, as he is better suited to absorb all the knowledge and training provided.
2019 was a special year for Parrott, having made senior debuts for club and country at the age of 17. The young Irishman (he was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland) travelled with Tottenham’s first team on a few occasions during the 2018-19 season, made his senior debut during the club’s 2019 Asian tour in the summer, and played with the first team in a Carabao Cup tie in September 2019 against Colchester United.
Parrott appeared in a matchday squad for the club’s Premier League match against Everton in November 2019, a game that ended in a one-all draw. Later in the month, he made his senior international debut for his home country, playing in a friendly against New Zealand that ended 3-1 in favour of the Republic of Ireland.
Later in December, Parrott would come off the bench for his Premier League debut in a game against Burnley. In the UEFA Under-19 Youth League for the 2019-20 season he was the top scorer, having scored six goals in the group stage of the campaign.
In early February 2020, having just turned 18, Parrott signed a long-term contract with Tottenham. This was terrific news for the club’s passionate fan base who wanted to see the young striker commit to the club.
Kevin Neal is one such fan, having been a season ticket holder for many years. Mr Neal also has experience with Tottenham’s youth team, having trained with the club between the ages of 12 to 15.