Troy Parrott: “I’ve learned a lot about myself this season”
Thu 10 June 2021, 11:17|Tottenham Hotspur
Troy Parrott believes he’s learned to channel his energies on further improving his game after a season of self-discovery out on loan.
A regular goal-getter at youth level, the young striker stepped up to make four appearances for our first team during the 2019/20 campaign before heading out for his first taste of regular senior football at Championship side Millwall last summer.
Unfortunately, a couple of injuries during his early weeks at The Den hampered his progress and he didn’t make his league debut for the Lions until November, subsequently clocking up 14 appearances through until January before joining Ipswich Town in League One for the remainder of the campaign.
His first senior goal swiftly followed - Ipswich’s winner at home to Plymouth Argyle in March - before he added to his tally on the last day of the season in a 3-1 home victory over Fleetwood Town as the Tractor Boys finished ninth, just five points outside the play-off places.
With 18 appearances under his belt for the Portman Road outfit - 32 for Millwall and Ipswich combined - Troy felt he took a great deal away from both loan stints, not only on the pitch but also off it, having lived by himself in south London during his time at The Den before relocating and setting up camp all over again in Ipswich, all while still only 19 years of age.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself this season, what level I’m at, what I need to do to get better, so much little stuff,” said the striker, who has just finished his latest round of international duty with the senior Republic of Ireland squad, where he scored two goals to inspire his nation to a 4-1 victory over Andorra last week.
“People may say ‘oh, he went on loan, he didn’t score much, he didn’t get many assists’ but it’s absolutely not true that it wasn’t a good season on loan. For me, I’ve learned so much stuff, even down to the tiniest little things. Obviously it didn’t start very well with the injuries but for me personally, I feel like I’m picking things up on the pitch and off the pitch.
“I remember I played a couple of games last summer for Millwall, got injured towards the end of pre-season, my first game back was Burnley in the Carabao Cup and I got injured straight away again so for me it wasn’t ideal and it was tough to take getting two injuries back-to-back, but if I could say one thing, I’d say I’m happy with how I went about dealing with it - I got my head down, worked hard, ate all the right stuff, did everything I needed to do rehab-wise and I came back. Whether I came back as strong as I’d felt at the start of the season, I don’t know - if I could say maybe it set me back a bit then I probably would say that, but it’s not an excuse, it happens, it’s life and I think I just cracked on with what I needed to do.
“When I went to Ipswich, to be honest, at the start it was mentally hard for me because I always expect the best from myself and at the time, I kind of cared too much what people’s perception was of going from a Championship club and dropping down - maybe people were going to say I wasn’t good enough to play in the Championship, so at the time it was mentally challenging but I had people around me who were advising me and assuring me that it’s not too much of a big deal and to be fair I have a lot of respect for League One and the Championship because I’ve gone out and played in those divisions, I’ve seen what the level is like and they’re two very tough leagues.
"Obviously being with two different teams, seeing what it’s like at those levels, it’s been very beneficial for me and I just want to say thanks to both clubs. I’ve said it personally to them already but both of them have done a lot for me, they’ve helped me out a lot and I’ve met a lot of great people - the gaffers especially, Gary Rowett at Millwall, Paul Lambert and then Paul Cook at Ipswich, they’ve been great and the main thing is for me to say thank you to them and to everyone who has supported me all season. Overall my season didn’t go exactly how I wanted with goals and assists but playing and experience-wise, I got everything that I needed out of it.”
Although he feels his campaign has been about much more than statistics in front of goal, Troy naturally turned to his winner for Ipswich against Plymouth as a particular highlight for him.
“In the games I was playing before I’d scored, I felt like I’d kept building and building towards my first goal, and as much as I was telling myself, ‘you’re playing well, don’t let it get to you,’ as a striker, that’s always going to be there in the back of your head, so when it went in against Plymouth, I was delighted at the time and it was like a big weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Although I wasn’t scoring regularly, I personally felt like I was playing well in the games, the team was doing well and the players seemed happy with me, so although it was in the back of my head that I wasn’t scoring, I wasn’t too focused on it to the point that it was getting to me.
“Since I was young, I’ve always had a positive mindset. I don’t know if when I was 14 or 15 I was perhaps looking at myself as better than I actually was at the time, but I always believed in what I could do on a football pitch. In a way I still have that confidence now - obviously there’s more things that come into it with fans, clubs, managers and being a professional footballer in general - but I always feel like I want to impress everyone.
"Obviously it’s not possible to do that all the time and there are always going to be people who are not impressed and that’s fine. I try not to read into external factors too much but at the same time it probably motivates me to do even better, so people having a bad opinion is not always such a bad thing because it helps me push myself more.
“All in all it’s been a massive learning process for me and I feel very positive about this season, and the future. Now the season has finished for me, I need to get my head down, have a good off-season, spend some time with family and come back ready to go again for what’s next.”