Yesterday at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, young Tottenham Hotspur striker Troy Parrott realized a dream as he made his international debut for Ireland. The 17-year old earned his first cap and his first start as part of an experimental lineup by manager Mick McCarthy in a friendly match against New Zealand.
Ireland won the match 3-1, and while Parrott didn’t get on the scoreboard he did tally an assist in the match, finding Sean Maguire for the go-ahead goal. He was subbed off after a solid 63 minutes of action.
The full highlights of Ireland’s win are below; Parrott’s assist happens around the 1:50” mark.
Parrott looked lively throughout the match, dribbling well and making good runs. At one point in the first half he was through on goal and might have scored but his run was called back for offside. New Zealand isn’t an especially great team (and neither is Ireland, to be fair) but Parrott looked far from out of his depth in his first international appearance, and even got stuck in a bit, going in for tackles against New Zealand defenders.
After the match, McCarthy praised Parrott’s play on his debut.
“He can handle himself at this level, I don’t doubt that. He was tracking back and he tackled their centre-half [Winston Reid] and he got all upset. I know he’s been out, so you don’t want him to get injured - but well done, that’s what it’s about.
”Welcome to men’s football, because then he was getting a little bit bullied by him. But he stood up to it, and he’s done fine.”
Parrott himself was pleased with his debut, and said he wants to use it as a springboard for future success in football.
“Of course I have been satisfied with the strides I’ve been making as I’ve made my debut for Tottenham and I’ve come in here and made my debut for Ireland. But I’m just going to try to keep on doing what I can do, working hard and trying to learn from people, and hopefully I can go far in the game.”
Parrott, along with a number of other debutants, got their chance because of the nature of the friendly, though it’s very unlikely that he’ll feature in Ireland’s important EURO qualifier against Christian Eriksen’s Denmark on Sunday. That’s okay. This match was about giving him a chance, and he appears to have passed every test. I think we can expect to start seeing a lot more of Parrott in Ireland’s setup going forward.