After finishing eighth in the Premier League last season, Spurs have charged into the ascendancy this term and occupied pole position until defeat against Chelsea at the start of last week.
A deluge of injuries and suspensions meant that the squad was somewhat threadbare heading to Molineux to face Wolverhampton Wanderers at the weekend, and despite leading for 87 minutes, the hosts’ Pablo Sarabia inspired a dramatic late turnaround.
While Postecoglou has undisputably orchestrated a revolution down the N17, not all have reached their peak yet; Yves Bissouma and Cristian Romero were among the underachievers last year, now revived, but despite an upswing, Richarlison still cuts a divisive figure.
Richarlison’s Tottenham career
Signing from divisional rivals Everton for £60m in July 2022, Richarlison severely struggled across his first campaign in London, only scoring once in the league and being branded as “useless” by The RedMen TV’s Chris Pajak.
This year, he has been better, posting one goal and three assists from ten Premier League outings, which means that he is now just one direct contribution behind last year’s total despite playing 17 fewer fixtures.
The £90k-per-week forward does also rank among the top 13% of positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for assists per 90, as per FBref, emphasising the import of his presence to Tottenham.
The Brazilian is among the absentees at Tottenham right now, sidelined for several weeks following a groin operation, and while Brennan Johnson is firing himself into form, Richarlison’s “relentless” running – as has been noted by Goal editor Joe Strange – will be missed.
There is hope. Off the bench in September, it was Richarlison’s contribution that proved definitive against lowly Sheffield United, bagging a goal and assist apiece in the dying embers to maintain early renaissance that placed the club near the front of the Premier League table.
Such an influential display bespeaks his best qualities and big-game potential, and this is something that will need to be captured and shaped when he returns from his current injury.
If he can rediscover the clinical touch that served him so well at Everton, Postecoglou could find a dangerous weapon at his disposal, but considering that he has been outscored by Spurs starlet Troy Parrott since joining the club, he will need to make significant improvements to bring his career to its apex.
Troy Parrott’s career so far
Parrott is not quite among the current wave of prodigious talent pervading Spurs’ youth academy right now, but at 21-years-old, he remains an exciting prospect and has been earning his stripes out on loan for the past few years.
Having plundered 31 goals and six assists from 38 matches for Spurs’ development sides the 20-cap Republic of Ireland international (with four goals) has been touted for a good career, and while he still has progress to make, there is definitely a natural goalscoring ability to be nurtured.
Last season, Parrott enjoyed a loan spell with Preston North End in the Championship, scoring four goals from 22 starts, though he was perhaps unfortunate to be plying his trade with the division’s second-lowest scorers.
Speaking of his loan addition, Preston manager Ryan Lowe said: “His work rate is phenomenal. For the size of him, he is a bit of a unit inside. He’s not massive, but very strong, uses his body very well & he got down the sides plenty of times.”
Now on the move again, Parrott’s rate of scoring is something that Postecoglou will be aware of, even if he isn’t earning starting appearances on every occasion.
Troy Parrott’s season by numbers
After his spell with Preston last season, Parrott completed a season-long loan move to Dutch side Excelsior, following in the footsteps of former Lilywhite, Marcus Edwards.
Troy Parrott: Characteristics
*Sourced via WhoScored
As per Sofascore, the Irishman has only played from the outset on two occasions, and given that he is averaging 30 minutes per match, this equates to a goal per 90.
Parrott will hope to start earning greater opportunities from the opening whistle, but having proven his worth through his predatory skills, he will surely earn chances to impress further over the remainder of the 2022/23 campaign.
While the striker would be hoping for a regular starting berth, he is outperforming fellow Spurs loan star Dane Scarlett, who, albeit only 19-years-old, has yet to score or assist from ten outings on loan with Ipswich Town in the Championship.
Scarlett is considered one of the club’s most promising starlets and earned some valuable experience with League One side Portsmouth last term, scoring six times and registering two assists across all competitions, starting 19 times in the league.
But, clearly, he still needs time to grow into his skin; Parrott, based on his goalscoring record this season, may well be confident enough in striking on goal to effectively serve Postecoglou, and given that there is a lack of depth in the first-team, he might have been a valuable tool to hold within the pack.
Having now scored seven times since Richarlison arrived at Spurs, Parrott is outscoring the five-goal Spurs player, and while circumstances differ, this is something that Postecoglou will be desperate to bring up a notch, else a time will come when his hand may be forced regarding the £60m man’s future at the club.
With talented hopefuls such as Parrott and Scarlett snapping at his heels, maybe the sharpened cutting edge that all Spurs supporters hope for will materialise, but if it doesn’t, and the club’s Australian manager feels inclined to dip into the transfer market, such budding talents will be able to serve as understudies.