The 20 year-old N. Ireland U21 striker enjoyed a successful 12 month loan spell at ‘home’ with Derry City in 2019, finishing as the club’s top goalscorer with 19 goals in all competitions, earning his place in the PFAI Team of the Year.
However, he’s eager to take his career to the next level and, despite impressing in training with the Blades’ first team during the past few weeks, he felt the offer of an extension to his current deal, which ends in the summer, simply wasn’t what he needs in terms of his career progression.
Sheffield United, who are flying high at the top end of the Premiership table strengthened their attacking options in the summer with the signing of Scottish striker, Oli McBurnie from Swansea in a club record £20 million deal while Ireland international, David McGoldrick and Lys Mousset have been regulars.
And so Parkhouse reckons he will be well down the pecking order and isn’t prepared to wait about, allow his career to stagnate while playing U23 football for another year.
“I haven’t turned it down out of disrespect to Sheffield United but you have to sit down and look at where your future is going to lie,” said the striker.
“I’ve been up with the first team since I’ve been back, I’ve been training and done well but I have to assess whether there will be a breakthrough for me in the team at some point.
“Looking at it now, there’s not really going to be that opportunity. I know injuries can sometimes give you a chance but you can’t sit back and bank on injuries happening, They just signed Olli McBurnie and he’s a very similar style striker to me. He’s still young too so the chances of me getting in ahead of him is unlikely.
“I’m by no means being cocky or thinking I’m bigger than Sheffield United because I know I’m not but I know my worth as well. I know where I want to be at this moment in time. And what I’ve been offered just isn’t for me at the minute.
“I want to be at a place where I get regular game-time, regular first team football. I could stay at the club and negotiate a better contract but I’m just weighing up my options now and seeing where to go in January.
“I had talks with Sheffield United and I’m held in high regard by them but we both have come to an agreement about what’s happening next. I could stay there but I don’t want to get held back. I want to go and kick on and take myself to the next level.”
Scottish champions, Celtic have made contact with his agent and would be permitted to offer Parkhouse a pre-contract given there’s just six months remaining on his current deal while Everton and Blackburn have also made tentative approaches regarding his availability.
Wherever he opts to move next, Parkhouse wants it to be a permanent transfer with assurances of playing regular first team football. And he admits it would be the ‘perfect Christmas present’ should he seal his move in January.
“I have to see what clubs are interested and then go from there. The club has to be right, the football has to be right and everything else. There is a few options there but nothing can be done until January. All that can be done now is having conversation after conversation. That’s for the people looking after me to do and I know they’re doing a great job of it. I have to have trust in them.”
“For now I’m glad I’m home and I’ll enjoy a couple of days that I’m back and then I’ll get back over before next weekend and I’ll be all set for January.
“I think I can sign a pre-contract agreement with Scottish clubs but if a club comes in for me in January I can go on loan but I don’t really want to do that. I’ve already done that and I want to go to a place where I can settle myself in.
“I feel like I have proven myself and I don’t need to do it again. I’m ready for the next challenge now and want to go to the next level.”
He certainly proved himself a top striker in the League of Ireland last season and now he wants to show his worth at a higher level.”It was a memorable year for myself and my family and as much as I would love to have another crack at it I can’t just be happy with what I’ve done I want new challenges and set new records for myself.
“The season I had last year was massive for me and thanks to Decky (Devine) and the backroom staff because without them I wouldn’t be in this situation now. He had to have belief in me and vice versa and it worked out well so I have a lot to thank Derry City for and it’s a club which is very close to my heart. I will always hold it in high regard.”