BBC Sport pundit and Tottenham Hotspur legend Chris Waddle has criticised Spurs head coach Jose Mourinho for not making use of Troy Parrott in Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg defeat, in conversation with BBC Sport.
Tottenham are currently in the midst of an attacking crisis, with Son Heung-min joining Harry Kane on the sidelines after the South Korea international was tabled in for surgery on an arm fracture sustained against Aston Villa last weekend.
Spurs currently have just Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn and Dele Alli as attacking players established in the first team, but academy striking sensation Troy Parrott is also able to be called upon.
The 18-year-old is very highly rated at Tottenham’s academy following his consistent goalscoring heroics at youth and reserve level, resulting in some senior game time this season – five minutes in the Premier League against Burnley and a runout in the League Cup against Colchester United.
However, Mourinho has insisted that Parrott is “not ready” to assume the mantle of the first-team’s number nine, as told to Football London in the pre-match conference ahead of the RB Leipzig clash.
The Portuguese ended up not naming Parrott in the matchday squad as Tottenham were beaten 1-0 by the Bundesliga high-flyers, courtesy of Timo Werner’s second-half penalty, and Waddle slated the Spurs head coach for not playing the teenager.
“You are obviously going to miss the quality of Kane and Son but to be honest I can only think of one chance where you think that they could have scored that,” Waddle told BBC Sport.
“They did not create many chances. They say they have no strikers but they do, they have Troy Parrott – you have to play him. He’s not even on the bench tonight. You can say he is not ready but how do you know? If you have a centre forward, you play him.”
Mourinho is the one who works with Parrott and the rest of the squad day in and day out – or if not him, one of his coaches – and when he says Parrott – who let’s not forget has only just turned 18 – is not ready for first-team action, then it’s hardly a case of being stubborn.
Parrott is undoubtedly a talented striker, given his prolific goalscoring record at academy level – but the difference from that level to senior football, not to mention a Champions League knockout match, is huge, and Parrott has virtually no first-team experience – 71 minutes at Spurs, none elsewhere.
How can such an inexperienced player be expected to lead the line in the Premier League or latter stages of the Champions League, saddled with the responsibility of having to step up to the mantle of world-class seasoned internationals like Kane and Son? At this stage it would probably do more harm than good both to the team and to the player’s confidence.
The finger ought to be pointed to the Tottenham board, who let Vincent Janssen and Fernando Llorente go in the summer, and didn’t bring in any new strikers to compensate.