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'He has only recently turned 17, so it is a step up. But we think he's ready for it'

Ireland U21 manager Stephen Kenny has backed striker Troy Parrott to succeed for the national team.

Parrott has previously starred for the Ireland U17s and U19s in recent years.
Parrott has previously starred for the Ireland U17s and U19s in recent years.

STEPHEN KENNY HAS backed Troy Parrott to succeed at a higher international level after the Dublin teenager received his first call-up to the Ireland U21 squad on Wednesday.

Parrott only celebrated his 17th birthday last month, but has enjoyed a rapid development both for club and country since joining Premier League side Tottenham last July from Belvedere.

The striker has impressed with Spurs’ U18s and U23s this season, regularly finding the back of the net both on domestic duty and in the Uefa Youth League, where he has lined out against champions Barcelona, Inter Milan and PSV.

He enjoyed a starring role last summer as the Ireland U17s made it all the way to the last eight of the Uefa European Championships in England, scoring three goals en route to the quarter-finals.

On Wednesday he was named in Kenny’s 23-man squad for this month’s opening Uefa U21 European Championships qualifier at home to Luxembourg in Tallaght Stadium.

The Ireland manager said he hoped to facilitate further growth in Parrott’s development with an eye to progressing towards the senior Ireland team in the future.

Stephen Kenny Kenny takes charge of his first competitive game as U21 manager later this month against Luxembourg. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

“We’ve elevated five of the 17-year-olds, really,” Kenny said. “Troy is one of those. He is obviously a very talented player, he is coming right through the system with the national teams and with Tottenham.

“He has only recently turned 17 so it is a step up. But we think he’s ready for it and we’re happy to promote our best younger players up through the age groups, that’s my view.

We want to promote players quicker and see how they perform at U21 level. If they can perform at that level, it can help accelerate their development into becoming senior internationals. Because that’s ultimately the ambition.”

Parrott has trained with Mauricio Pochettino’s senior side a number of times this season, but is currently a doubt to face Luxembourg on 24 March after picking up an injury setback in recent weeks on club duty.

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“He has an injury at the moment,” Kenny explained. “He has had a procedure on his toe, so there is a doubt about his availability for the game because of that. We will have to see how it goes.

United Kingdom: Tottenham Hotspur v FC Internazionale - UEFA Youth League Parrott scored three goals in five games during this season's Uefa Youth League. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

“Our medical team have been dealing with the Tottenham medical team and they have been in contact. So there is a doubt about his availability because of that. We will have to see how his progress goes between now and 24 March.”

Parrott found the back of the net against Barcelona as Tottenham made it to the knockout stages of the Uefa Youth League back in December and also netted a 27-minute hat-trick for the Ireland U19s against the Faroe Islands in October.

The forward signed his first pro contract with Tottenham at the start of February on his 17th birthday having enjoyed a rapid progression during his first six months with the North Londoners.

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Aaron Gallagher

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