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Troy Parrott and Jack Byrne to start for Ireland in friendly with New Zealand

The Spurs striker will become Ireland’s third-youngest senior international tomorrow night.

Troy Parrott in training for Ireland yesterday.
Troy Parrott in training for Ireland yesterday.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

TROY PARROTT AND Jack Byrne will make their first senior international starts for Ireland against New Zealand in tomorrow night’s friendly at the Aviva Stadium.

Mick McCarthy confirmed this morning that the duo will start the game, along with Irish U21 and Celtic defender Lee O’Connor. Spurs striker Parrot is just 17, and will become Ireland’s third-youngest senior debutant after Robbie Keane and Jimmy Holmes. 

“He’s a bright, very intelligent footballer that’s very good with the ball at his feet”, said McCarthy of Parrott.

“He did some really good things yesterday. I think he found it tough enough, it was intense, but he enjoyed it.

“I don’t think I’ve seen his full potential yet in the couple of training sessions we’ve had, but he did something yesterday when the ball came into him. He turned and got his shot off, which was terrific, and you could see from that little cameo that he’s got something special.” 

Like all debutants, Parrott will have to undergo the traditional initiation ceremony of singing in front of team-mates at dinner – although McCarthy said the striker has promised not to repeat his One Direction number ahead of his debut with the U15s. 

Parrott made his senior debut for Tottenham in the Carabao Cup against Colchester United in September, and has been terrific form at other levels for Spurs, recently scoring four times in a Uefa Youth League game with Red Star Belgrade.

Byrne, meanwhile, will start among the midfield three, which will be his first senior start having made his debut in September’s friendly with Bulgaria. It caps a great few weeks for Byrne, who has collected awards both collective – the FAI Cup – and individual – PFAI Player of the Year – at the end of a fantastic debut season with Shamrock Rovers. 

“I want him to do what he does for Shamrock Rovers, which is to get hold of the ball, pass it, create chances, keep the ball moving, recycle it for others and he doesn’t give it away.

“His free kicks and corner deliveries are good, and his penalties are excellent having seen the one in the cup final, that was a great penalty.

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“Look it’s not Denmark, by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a big international game, New Zealand are treating it as a big international game. So for Jack, it will be. For him to showcase what he’s got.”

The team tomorrow night is unlikely to feature any of those slated to start the effective play-off with Denmark on Monday night, and McCarthy said few are expected to feature even as substitutes.  

Darren Randolph definitely won’t play against New Zealand, with Kieran O’Hara and Mark Travers both set to play at some point. 

Ireland have no new injury concerns ahead of tomorrow’s game. 

- Originally published at 10.38 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney  / reports from FAI HQ, Abbottstown

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