From January 2019 right up until today, much has been written in the media, debated on TV and splashed all over social media about the prospects beginning to appear through the ranks of teams across the English Premier League.
Jadon Sancho has been at the head of this list spear heading his way into the England team with top performances for Dortmund in the Bundesliga last season.
There was Bayern Munich’s shock pursuit of Callum Hudson-Odoi from Chelsea. I say shock, but CHO was known throughout the development division for a while just not given the opportunities at Chelsea that other clubs may have afforded him.
There were loanees aplenty from the EPL standing out from the crowd and showing that there really is a significant depth of youngsters in youth teams around the Country just waiting to be given their chance. Mason Mount and Harry Wilson spring to mind from their time with Derby County.
But that was last season, and now we’re looking to the new one and the current darling of the media being Manchester United’s own prodigy Mason Greenwood.
The free scoring 17 year old was mentioned a couple of times by Solskjaer in press conferences toward the end of last season and he did receive a few token appearances. But not really afforded the time to show what he can do. Now though, it would be fair to say that he has taken the bull by the horns during the pre-season so far and if his appearance against Inter Milan is anything to go by he will definitely be in contention for a starting berth come the new season.
Arsenal youngsters Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka have hit the headlines with their performances against Fiorentina recently and rightly so.
But there is one player that appears to be flying below the radar. With very little media attention from the English papers is another 17 year old and just across North London at Tottenham Hotspur, Troy Parrott.
Last season in the development leagues, Parrott boasted a comparable goalscoring record to United’s Greenwood.
- Greenwood played 30, scored 31. Averaging a goal every 74 minutes.
- Parrot played 12, scored 15. Averaging a goal every 65 minutes.
Granted Greenwood played the full season, but if it wasn’t for Parrott’s inury hampered end to his season we could have seen a far closer contest.
Troy Parrot was given his first appearance and started for the Spurs senior team in the pre-season opener against Juventus. I tuned in for this reason only and was not disappointed. Parrott may be 17 but his movement and the way he saw space opening as he tried to run into channels shown a maturity beyond his years.
Whilst he may not have scored, Parrott was vital in the build up for Tottenham’s opener and if it wasn’t for a superb reaction save from Buffon we would have seen his name on the scoresheet. He was never bullied by Bonucci and on a couple of occasions made Rugani to look the more inexperienced in their personal battles.
I understand it was only 45 minutes, but up against Bonucci and Rugani he did not look out of place. As with Greenwood, if this first appearance is anything to go by he may not be challenging for Harry Kane’s spot (not a lot of experience players would, let’s be honest), Tottenham will have a very good backup and may save themselves a few pennies in that position.
I’d also like to put a special mention to 18 year old Oliver Skipp who dealt with and at times bullied Blaise Matuidi in the middle of the pitch. He played the full 90 minutes until going off with a knock and barely put a foot wrong all game. It’s obvious he is a no-frills player (apart from the recent video of him humiliating Sissoko in training), and is earning strong comparisons to Scott Parker. Time will tell, and he may need a loan move to get game time but he does look very very promising.
It also can’t go without saying that 22 year old, Kyle Walker-Peters had a great first half against Ronaldo.
It’s fair to say that Tottenham really did spoil anyone who has an affection for British youth players for choice today. Featuring players such as: Kyle Walker-Peters, Japhet Tanganga, Oliver Skipp, Troy Parrott, Jamie Bowden, George Marsh, Jack Roles and Harvey White.