Tottenham Hotspur under José Mourinho continues to be a work-in-progress as the Portuguese manager is changing the way operations are handled from top to bottom. Spurs are enjoying their best run of form in a long time, having won four of the last five matches and scoring 16 goals in the process. More importantly, Spurs locked up a berth in the knockout rounds in the UEFA Champions League with one match to play, meaning some of the youth players are going to get a chance to play on the biggest stage in Munich this week, including Troy Parrott and Oliver Skipp.
Dan Kilpatrick has touched on how things have changed for the youth academy in a short period of time, including Mourinho sending more players out on loan to get them first-team football opportunities at a higher level than youth matches.
[...]Mourinho is prepared to send a number of the club’s other promising young players out on loan, in a change from his predecessor’s policy. England Under-21 midfielder Oliver Skipp, 19, and 20-year-old defender Japhet Tanganga, who have both played for the first team this season, could be among the players to join other Premier League or Football League clubs in January.
The youth system under Mauricio Pochettino was pretty simple: If he rated a player, they weren’t leaving the club. If he didn’t rate a player, off on loan they went. There was also frustration with youth players at Tottenham under Pochettino who thought they were ready for their first professional contracts and wanted loans for meaningful matches. There isn’t concrete evidence of this other than standard reporting, but players like Reo Griffiths and Keanan Bennetts weren’t offered professional contracts before they left the club. A part of the reason was the loan policy and that players felt they’d earned more opportunities to play for the first team. Sometimes, that’s the way things work but Pochettino’s loan policy made things more difficult.
One player who isn’t going out on loan any time soon is 17-year-old striker Troy Parrott. Spurs supporters are excited for his future, especially since he made his debut on Saturday in the 5-0 drubbing of Burnley. Mourinho made sure it was a special moment for the Irish International:
Mourinho, who handed Parrott the match-ball at full-time on Saturday, has taken a shine to the Dubliner and assured him he has a big future in north London. After Saturday’s win, the Spurs manager said: “Sometimes [the match-ball] is for the guy who has his hat-trick, but I think it has a bigger meaning for a 17-year-old. Last week he was playing in the UEFA Youth League with kids of his age. Today he played in the Premier League. Amazing week for him.”
Spurs are hoping to have a different outcome with Troy Parrott’s senior career at Tottenham. Given that he has a professional contract, he’s well ahead of Griffiths, Bennetts, and Marcus Edwards. Tottenham will need to lock him down because there are clubs out there who have noticed his quality.
Parrott will have 18 months remaining on his contract in January and he has attracted interest from German giants Bayern and Borussia Dortmund, who believe he could be the next Premier League youngster to make an impact in the Bundesliga.
Bayern chiefs Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness were at Hotspur Way for the UEFA Youth League clash between the clubs in October and were said to have been impressed by Parrott. The teenager (above) is happy at Spurs but he has already made his senior debut for the Republic of Ireland and wants assurances he will be given enough first-team playing time in the future to continue his development, particularly with Kane ahead of him in the pecking order.
Keeping Parrott seems to be a priority for the club, and that’s good news. Harry Kane is 26 years old now and entering the prime of his career, but he isn’t going to be around forever and there has been concern in the past couple of seasons that his ankle injuries have caught up with him, even with 15 goals in 20 appearances in what has been a roller coaster of a season. Under Mourinho, though, the system has changed and Kane doesn’t need to be a pressing monster. He’s now playing in a system where he and Dele are basically in a partnership and both are flourishing once again, especially the latter. If Troy Parrott can prove to Mourinho that he’s ready for the big stage, and he’ll get a chance Wednesday in Munich, then seeing the Irishman in the eighteen might become a regular thing for Tottenham Hotspur.