Ryan Byrne/INPHO Ireland’s Troy Parrott gets away from Donatas Kazlauskas of Lithuania.
Early bird

Pain and pleasure for Parrott with big decisions on the horizon

The Spurs striker has shown a new resolve at a crucial time in his nascent career, writes David Sneyd.

TROY PARROTT HAD “the best moment of my life” when he scored that sensational 97th-minute winner for Ireland against Lithuania on Tuesday night.

But there is another pretty significant one just around the corner.

The 20-year-old striker has one more year on his Tottenham Hotspur contract and a discussion about what happens next is imminent.

He will either be sold or sign a new deal.

The42 understands another loan spell won’t be happening without some definitive action regarding his future.

“There is no way Spurs will let him out again without signing a new deal,” a source explains.

“What people see on the outside, saying he should do this or do that, they don’t know what’s happening inside. This is an interesting summer for him because he will either be sold so Spurs can make some money, or they will offer him a new contract because they will not risk letting him go on loan again and then lose him for nothing next year.”

The expectation is that Parrott, who is part of the Unique Sports Management agency alongside Ireland teammates Adam Idah, Dara O’Shea and Mark Travers, will agree fresh terms in North London and receive a bump in his weekly wage before having another loan deal.

His time at MK Dons this season has been a huge success in terms of game time and development – not to mention a lack of injuries which have hampered him previously – although Parrott did fear he might suffer when head coach Russell Martin departed for Swansea during the campaign.

Instead, he has continued to thrive. Should he help them secure promotion to the Championship – they are currently well-placed in third spot ahead of their home game with Shrewsbury Town today and are just four points adrift of league leaders Rotherham United – that will strengthen his position with options open to him.

And while MK could go up automatically, there is nothing straight forward about Parrott’s next move.

Even with promotion it is understood they would not be in a position to offer the kind of contract that could come anywhere close to what the 20-year-old is earning now – Spurs currently covering the vast majority of his wages.

Parrott was asked about his club future at the start of last week prior to the Belgium game when he was one of the first players put forward for media duty.

But the uncertainty is not something that affected him while he went about his business.

“Frightening” and “on a different level to what he was before” is how two sources described his performances in training.

So why didn’t he start against Lithuania, given Stephen Kenny made six changes to his starting XI from the 2-2 draw with Belgium last Saturday?

The word from the Ireland camp before the second friendly seemed to suggest Parrott was primed.

“There has been a real noticeable difference in Troy between this and the last camp. You sometimes forget how young Troy is,” assistant manager Keith Andrews said when he carried out the pre-match press conference duties in place of Kenny.

“He (Troy) pressed the reset button and just started to work hard. We got a lot of belief in him in terms of what he is capable of, and he is in a good place. He has been really, really sharp so there would be absolutely no qualms about Troy being involved tomorrow.”

The decision had already been made that he wouldn’t start, and Parrott had already been informed.

His reaction, as one source put it, “was not someone acting like a Charlie”, the inference being that Parrot was big time.

Instead, even with it being clear throughout the pre-match session who would be in the team (Will Keane handed his full debut) Parrott, who Kenny admitted after the game used the disappointment in the right way, is understood to have been “frightening” yet again.

rotherham-united-v-milton-keynes-dons-sky-bet-league-one-aesseal-new-york-stadium PA Rotherham United's Ollie Rathbone tries to get to grips with Milton Keynes Dons' Troy Parrott. PA

“He’s been told for so long how good he is and something has clicked,” a source adds. “He has realised he has to make it happen for himself.

“Troy is one of the calmest players and men I’ve ever met, in any situation he doesn’t seem fazed. He has an aura about him that makes you believe he can thrive in any situation. If he can physically perform, the mental side of the game won’t be a problem for him now.”

Interestingly, even at such a young age Parrott is already needing to manage his body for training and games because of a quadricep and two different ankle injuries, both of which require him to undergo a personal treatment routine before and after sessions.

Crucially, those previous injuries, described as “significant for someone his age”, don’t prevent him from taking part in training, his availability and reliability when in the squad being noted.

There was certainly no sign of the toll his injuries have taken on his body when he expertly controlled a looping ball, set himself for the strike and delivered with venom from more than 25 yards.

republic-of-ireland-v-lithuania-international-friendly-aviva-stadium PA PA

The subsequent knee slide celebration a release of both frustration at not starting, and joy at producing another moment of magic in a green jersey.

He rose to the occasion for his first pair of internationals goals last summer when Andorra took a shock lead and delivered when it mattered again.

“To score the winner that late in front of the home fans maybe a mile or so away from my house was honestly incredible. I’m still shaking now. It was honestly one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life,” he beamed afterwards.

And, rather than a night on the tiles in his hometown knowing he had a day off from club duty on Wednesday, he celebrated by returning to the team hotel to recuperate.

He also wasn’t one to hang around Dublin the day after his moment to drink in the acclaim among family and friends, a source explaining he was on a flight to London before midday.

“I realised, ultimately we get one shot at this football game,” Parrott said at the very start of the international window.

He had the last word on the pitch, too.

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