Hero of Ireland under-17s’ European Championship campaign Troy Parrott has capped off a dream year by signing his first professional contract with Tottenham Hotspur.
The former Belvedere schoolboy scored three times as Ireland reached the quarter-finals of the Euros in England before their controversial exit on penalties to the Netherlands.
16-year-old Parrott linked up with the Spurs academy earlier this year after the London club beat out competition from a host of English Premier League clubs for his signature.
He was named the FAI’s Under-15 player of the year last year and had to wait until he turned 16 in March before he could make the move to England.
The youngster, from Buckingham Street in the north inner city, cites Wes Hoolahan as one of his chief influences as a player and the similarity is noticeable in their stature and playing style.
Many fans have wondered whether we’ll ever see the like of Hoolahan, from nearby Portland Row, in an Irish shirt again, but Parrott’s performances at the Euros allayed those fears somwhat.
Watched on by international managers Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane, Ireland went out on penalties after keeper Jimmy Corcoran was sent off in the act of saving a spot-kick for straying off his line.
Parrott had become the first player to score against the Dutch in the tournament when his low shot beat the goalkeeper to cancel out Elayis Tavsen’s opener.
The Dubliner, who is eligible for the age group again next year, had already scored in the wins over Denmark and Bosnia and Herzegovina to secure passage to the knockout stages.
Despite being a Liverpool fan growing up, he overlooked interest from the Reds to nail his mast to Tottenham.
Should he realise his dream of making the first team at White Hart Lane, he’d be the first Irish player to make it from the academy to the senior ranks since Stephen Kelly in 2000.
The last Irish player to line out for Spurs was Robbie Keane in 2011, but it’s current striker Harry Kane, whose Irish roots are well-known, that Parrott looks to model his game on.
With Kane among several Spurs academy players competing in the first team at the London club, Parrott has at least given himself a chance of emulating his heroes.