Some notes on Troy Parrott’s performance against Belgium under 17’s:
I was at the Loughborough University stadium on Saturday afternoon to watch Ireland under 17’s take on Belgium in their opening group game of the under 17 European Championships. I was there to watch our very own Troy Parrott represent his country, the 16 year old centre forward is the only Spurs player involved in the tournament. Parrott played the full 80 minutes of Ireland’s 2-0 defeat to Belgium in the warm evening sun on Saturday. Operating mainly as a wide man Parrott impressed me in what was a frustrating game for the boys in green. The following notes are from my observations of Parrott’s performance during the game, a game in which he was forced into playing out of position in tough and testing conditions against a very good Belgium team. Ireland played with one striker up top, their top scorer during the qualifying campaign Adam Idah. Meaning that Parrott was forced into playing in the unfamiliar role of left wing. Ireland started brightly and Parrott was involved in an early attacking foray, advancing on a surging run down the left flank in the opening 30 seconds showing good ball control and speed. Ireland saw more of the ball during the opening stages of the game, but despite being tigerish and finding himself in a fair amount of space on the left Parrott was being played quite deep by the Ireland coaches. Interestingly the Ireland head coach Colin O’Brien had him on corner and free kick duties. Ireland were marginally the better side during the first half despite going behind four minutes before the break to Sekou Sidibe’s tap in from close range. Parrott’s hard work and tracking back didn’t go unnoticed, the schoolboy making a vital last ditch block inside the box to prevent Vandermeulen from getting his curler on target during the dying stages of the half.
Parrott switched to right wing for the start of the second half and it didn’t take long before the Summerhill native was involved in a promising move for the Irish. Parrott provided the potent Adam Idah with a glorious chance inside the Belgium box, after whipping in a menacing low cross towards the Norwich striker. Idah’s jabbed effort towards goal forced Belgium goalkeeper Nick Shinton into making a vital reflex save at his near post to prevent Ireland from drawing level. Despite his obvious graft down the right flank Parrott was frustratedly being played very deep. Parrott was involved in another promising move for Ireland around the hour mark as they continued to push for an equaliser. However, Ireland’s chances of getting anything from the game were severely dented on 68 minutes, when the Belgians doubled their lead through Yorbe Vertessen. After falling further behind Ireland manager Colin O’Brien decided to play Parrott in a slightly more central role behind Idah. As Ireland tired so too did Parrott who pulled up twice with cramp during the latter stages of the game, and was clearly struggling to continue. Ireland came desperately close to pulling a goal back in stoppage time but the Belgians were able to comfortably see out the remaining minutes, to dent the chances of Troy Parrott’s country progressing to the knockout stages. Despite suffering defeat I was impressed with what I had seen from Troy and his teammates. I thought that the Tottenham schoolboy had played his part in the game. He was feisty, hardworking and powerful going forwards. He didn’t shy away from getting involved in defensive duties and once again he roamed all over the park. It was frustrating to see him play out of position as I felt that it restricted his impact in around the six yard box, especially during set pieces.
Despite his positional change I thought that Parrott did a fine job in a variety of positions, his quality and awareness was plain to see. He is a classy player who uses the ball resourcefully. Despite his inclination to be a natural centre forward tactics dictated where he played, e.g the wing. Hence less involvement in direct play. Up next for Parrott and Ireland is Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday, in what will now be regarded as a must win fixture for the boys in green. Unfortunately I will be unable to attend that game as it has already sold out. On a different note I was once again impressed with Ireland and Norwich centre forward Adam Idah’s performance. He was sharp and his physical and aerial presence really managed to unsettle the Belgium defence. Idah is a very intelligent and clinical goalscorer who has always impressed me for both club and country since I first saw him play as a 15 year old. If Reo Griffiths is to go at the end of the season then I know which young striker I’d like us to replace him with! I wish Troy and co all the very best for their remaining group games. COYS/COYBIG