Football

How Will Jose Mourinho's Appointment Affect Troy Parrott's Development?

How Will Jose Mourinho's Appointment Affect Troy Parrott's Development?

Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea, played on August 11 at Old Trafford, goes down as one of the most random results of the Premier League season. In his first match as a Premier League manager, Frank Lampard started a team full of young, unproven Premier League talent like Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount and was subsequently hammered. Watching from the Sky Sports punditry box was the Special One. Jose Mourinho had managed both clubs. He was critical of Lampard's selection, and insisted that older players were needed for these kinds of fixtures.

“Look at the performance of Mason Mount, of Tammy Abraham, Christensen even, for matches of this dimension you need a little bit more."

"It's not about being senior or not senior. It's about performance. At the beginning of the season, you have to go with the players that are likely to give you more."

Mourinho made the case that Oliver Giroud should have started that game. Three months later, Chelsea sit third in the league, playing somewhat sexy football that's buoyed by the goalscoring of Abraham. Lampard backed his young players and they have returned his faith.

This morning, Mourinho was appointed Spurs manager.

Most Irish football fans have reacted to the announcement with a single thought: this can't be good for Troy Parrott's development at Spurs.

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In part, this reflects the real and fevered hunger for Irish fans to see Parrott break through now. Parrott turns 18 in February. Even with Poch in situ, it was unlikely that Parrott would be playing a massive role within the Spurs senior team over the next 12-18 months. Still, Parrott again proved over this international window that he is a special talent. Every stage in his professional development is worth monitoring.

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History tells us it is extremely unlikely José will turn to young players like Parrott to undo the rot at Tottenham.  Over the course of his managerial career, especially in the second half of it, Mourinho has shown little interest in developing young players. In fact, if you were preparing bulletpoints for an intel dossier on Mourinho as a manager at your club, 'shows little interest in developing young players' would appear just after 'plays horrible-to-watch football', 'wins trophies' and 'alienates players and fans'. Marcus Rashford's woeful form under Mourinho and flourishing this autumn seems like a cautionary tale for young strikers who have to work under Mourinho.

Interestingly, Mourinho's comments at Old Trafford in August jibe with his own sentiments expressed before the season started, where he backed Abraham and Chelsea's youth policy.

 “I think every manager in the world loves to play kids from the academy.

“You want a young striker – Tammy Abraham! He’s yours. He knows the club. He was made at the club, he was educated at the club.

“He was on loan, he played already some matches in the Premier League, he plays in the Championship but at the highest level with the responsibility to play at a big club like Aston Villa. He’s ready.

“Do you need to buy a young centre forward? No! And Chelsea were criticised many times with the number of players they had on loan, more than 30, 40 players.

“But now the moment arrived and they have answers like nobody else could have. They have the answers, so I don’t think it’s any problem for them.

So it's not that Mouirnho is totally opposed to the idea of working with young players, it's just that he's just quite bad it. The biggest takeway from Mourinho's spell at Old Trafford is that Mourinho does not connect with the Gen Z footballers. Matthew Syed on BBC Radio 4 summed it up thusly this morning: young players today have a 'collegiate view of success' and find Mournho's bitter managerial stagecraft inherently alienating.

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It seems notable then that Bayern Munich have been linked with a move for Parrott this morning. If history is any guide, some sort of loan move seems like a crucial next step in Parrott's development.

Of course it's not just Ireland fans who are nervous for Parrott under José.

Mourinho's appointment seems so strange because Daniel Levy showed no appetite for purchasing the kind of overpriced, aging Olivier Giroud-shaped footballer that Mourinho typically loves.

If Daniel Levy had given Pochettino the budget to buy a serviceable deputy for Harry Kane, it's likely Parrott would not have been given the chance to appear around the fringes of the Spurs senior squad this season. However, every time Parrott has been given a chance - most notably this summer - he's proven that he has the talent to make it at the top level of football.

The best part of this story for Ireland fans is that Mourinho's life span at a club rarely exceeds three seasons. Mourinho will most likely be gone before Parrott turns 21. Perhaps Harry Kane will have been sent to Manchester United by then and after blowing up the Championship, Parrott's time will come.

Donny Mahoney

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