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Athletic: Troy Parrott’s absence from Tottenham’s first team as much about maturity as it is readiness

The implications are that Parrott isn’t emotionally prepared to be throw into the Premier League deep end, no matter how much Tottenham need him.

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Tottenham Hotspur Training Session Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

“Where’s Troy Parrott?”

Considering the state of Tottenham Hotspur’s offense at the moment and that they’re without their two top goal scorers due to injury this season, it’s a fair question to ask. The talented Irish striker, who just turned 18 at the beginning of the month, hasn’t been seen anywhere near the first team since his club debut against Burnley in December. Spurs fans have been practically baying for Jose Mourinho to give him a chance to lead the line this season, especially since Tottenham have failed to score since Son Heung-Min went down with a broken arm in the win over Aston Villa two weeks ago.

Mourinho, however, has been extremely protective of Parrott, and has repeatedly said that the brightest star in Tottenham’s academy simply “isn’t ready.” Today, The Athletic (£) took a deep dive into why that is the case, and surprisingly it may have as much to do with maturity as it does with physical skills. Charlie Eccleshire and David Ornstein write that there are concerns within the club that Parrott isn’t mentally or emotionally mature enough yet to handle the rigors of Premier League football for a club with Champions League ambitions.

Sources have told The Athletic that there have been questions over Parrott’s mentality and application of late. Others have registered surprise at the striker’s apparent immaturity, especially when surrounded by his mates. Mourinho meanwhile appeared to suggest the player lacks “emotional control” last week. Though again it’s worth remembering Parrott has only just turned 18.

— Charlie Eccleshire & David Ornstein, The Athletic

Interestingly, these intimations about maturity and readiness were echoed yesterday morning by Chris Miller (“Windy”) in The Extra Inch podcast, one day prior to the release of The Athletic’s article, and based on his own sources from within the club. Parrott has already been under a little bit of criticism after a vulgar hazing video involving Troy emerged from when he was playing for Ireland’s youth setup at the age of 16. Certainly it’s not at all unusual to expect a certain amount of immaturity from a young man who only turned 18 weeks ago, which would also feed into Mourinho’s apparent feelings that he needs further nurturing and protection before given his big chance. It does, as Windy brings up on the podcast, bring up an interesting parallel to the recurring themes that eventually led Marcus Edwards to depart the club this summer.

The Athletic goes on to note that Charlton Athletic were very interested in taking Parrott on loan in the Championship in January, but the deal was scuppered due to a UEFA rule that required a full two years of club training before a player could be considered “homegrown.” Since Parrott joined Spurs on his 16th birthday on February 4, that meant that he could not leave on loan until that date, four days after the close of the window. A loan would’ve been a fantastic opportunity for Parrott to get some quality first team minutes and experience, but the decision was reportedly made with the long view in mind.

The counter-argument is that if a player is ready, he’s ready — Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney are usually mentioned here — and Parrott no doubt has the talent to at least have a go at establishing himself in the Premier League. He’s apparently frustrated at his lack of minutes and the failed Charlton loan, which is likely to keep him out of Ireland’s squad for the Euros this summer.

But ultimately, the decision is Mourinho’s, and while fans may be fairly desperate for Jose to roll the dice considering what’s at stake for Spurs until the end of the season, his caution about potentially throwing an unready player into the deep end out of necessity seems as though is warranted. It may not feel like it at the moment, but time is certainly on Troy Parrott’s side.