'Don't pigeonhole Parrott as t...

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'Don't pigeonhole Parrott as the next me!' | Robbie Keane

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Irish football's record goalscorer, Robbie Keane, was very impressed by striker Troy Parrott when he met him at Tottenham recently but has urged everyone not to put too much pressure on him.

The Dublin teenager has been hugely impressive at underage level with the London club, scoring 16 goals in 19 appearances in the under-18 Premier League and Premier League 2.

He has also acquitted himself well in a green shirt but even though Ireland have struggled in the striking department since Keane himself retired, the Tallaght native has pleaded for media and supporters not to put any pressure on him.

"You just have to be careful there with Troy Parrott," said Keane. "All of us here have to be, and not pigeon-hole him that he's going to be the next me and stuff like that. He's him! He's Troy Parrott.

"Let him develop as a young player. Has he got ability? Absolutely."

Keane also revealed that the 17-year-old is very much a favourite of the senior coaching staff at Tottenham, including the manager.

"I speak to [Mauricio] Pochettino all the time, he loves him. Jesús [Pérez] the assistant manager loves him. He definitely has potential but he's 17. I know I got thrown in at 17 but he's still young.

"He's definitely got a lot of potential. People at Tottenham love him. He's a lovely lad."

Whatever happens at the club, Keane believes that Parrott's chance will eventually come at senior international level but that the onus will then be on the player to grab it with both hands.

"When he gets the opportunity, if he goes with the [Ireland] under-21s, then comes with [the senior team], he certainly has a chance," Keane added.

"It's up to him. He's got everything but it's up to him. So how do you get from there to the next level?"

Robbie Keane advises Parrott to watch Harry Kane

At that point, Keane was reminded of the trio of young Irish lads that were let go by Liverpool last week.

He knows that it's even more difficult now for young Irish footballers to break through at Premier League clubs but he feels that Parrott has some good traits that could help him along the way.

"He definitely has the mentality," commented Keane. "He has the mentality. When we took the Irish job I went over and met him at the Tottenham training ground. I had lunch with him. I just wanted to have a chat with him and see where he was.

"He definitely has the right temperament to be a top player and, as I said, the manager speaks very highly of him. He's got a chance so when the opportunity comes for him, it's up to him to take it.

"But he needs to develop now, he needs to continue to keep scoring goals.

"He does for the [Tottenham] under-23s, I know he got injured at the end of the season, but continue to keep developing, keep progressing, keep watching, keep learning, keep listening.

"Keep speaking to Harry Kane, watch Harry Kane. See what he does, what his movements are. As young kids we used to do it, I used to do it myself, watch these top players because you can learn a lot from them."

Click here to watch the full sit-down chat with Keane who also talks about Ireland's Euro 2020 campaign so far and the possibility of him taking the offer of the assistant manager job at Middlesbrough.


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