A momentous season for Buckingham Street native Troy Parrott kicked up a notch as he trained with the Tottenham Hotspur first team ahead of their Champions League tie with Barcelona.
A 1-1 draw in that game was enough to ensure the senior team made the last 16, but Parrott’s shining moment came earlier in the day as Spurs beat Barca 2-0 in the UEFA Youth League.
16-year-old Parrott scored for the third successive Youth League game as Tottenham qualified for the play-off round of the UEFA Youth League with a 2-0 win away to holders Barcelona.
The Dubliner made headlines last month when he struck spectacularly against Inter Milan although the Italians, captained by Clare man Ryan Nolan, ran out 4-2 winners.
Parrott found his scoring feet at this level in the previous game with an injury-time goal that ensured three points in a hard-fought encounter with Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.
And the youngster – who lit up Ireland’s Under-19 European Championship qualifying group in Longford earlier this year – made it three from three as he put Spurs in front on Tuesday.
There were 17 minutes on the clock at Mini Estadi, adjacent to Camp Nou, when Parrott calmly finish after Paris Maghoma unselfishly picked out the striker in the box.
Tottenham were the better side for long spells at Barcelona’s underage arena, but the north London side rode out a lot of pressure in the second half before sealing the win late on.
Spurs made the three points – and second place in the group – safe in injury time as substitute Rodel Richards struck home the rebound after Jack Roles’ initial shot had been blocked.
It was no less than the English side deserved for a 90-minute performance high on energy and no little skill, with Parrott performing a sometimes thankless task in the hold-up role up front.
The former Belvedere man – who hails from the same area as Wes Hoolahan but has more in common with his clubmate Harry Kane as a player – has risen quickly through the ranks.
He scored three times while still a year underage as Ireland reached the quarter-finals of the Under-17 European Championships in England last year, losing in a penalty shoot-out to the Netherlands.
He’s since been promoted to the Under-19s, despite still having a year left at Under-17s level, and scored four times as Ireland topped a group containing the Dutch with three wins from three.
His progress at Spurs has been no less rapid as, despite having to wait until he turned 16 to move to London, he’s already become a mainstay in the Under-23 Premier League side.
Parrott, who doesn’t turn 17 until February, spent some time with the club’s Under-18s and top-scored at the Borgaro Maggioni Righi tournament in Italy with ten goals.
That form earned him a call-up to the Under-23s, from which Harry Winks and Kyle Walker-Peters have pushed onto the first team in recent times, and he quickly became first-choice striker.
Unlike the Champions League proper, second place in the Youth League ensures a play-off against the eight remaining teams from the champions route.
That includes Denmark’s FC Midtjylland, who overcame Parrott’s local club Bohemians in the first round and reached this stage with a win over PAOK of Greece.
The draw for the play-off round will be made on Monday, where Spurs will also learn their potential opponents in the round of 16.