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Dublin: 6°C Sunday 29 November 2020

'Walking out in the green jersey in my home town of Dublin is the best feeling I’ve ever felt'

Troy Parrott and Mick McCarthy reflect on the 17-year-old’s senior Irish debut.

Troy Parrott beats Michael Boxall to the ball.
Troy Parrott beats Michael Boxall to the ball.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

HERE’S MICK MCCARTHY on the life of Troy, delivered with a wry smile. 

“He is confident, he can sing, he can play football, he’s good-looking. Hey-ho, where did it all go wrong for him?

“He’ll be alright, will Troy.” 

Parrott tonight became Ireland’s third-youngest international, playing the first two-thirds of Ireland’s 3-1 friendly win over New Zealand.

A night earlier he had to uphold the long-established tradition of debutants singing before the rest of the squad ahead of the first cap, hence why McCarthy can attest to his singing voice. 

Anyone watching tonight will vouch for his football talent. Parrott didn’t score – New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic blocked a one-on-one effort a couple of minutes before the striker made way for Callum Robinson – but his movement was smart, his hold-up play strong and his physicality beyond doubt, muscling a defender off the ball to feed Seani Maguire for Ireland’s second goal. 

He was equally assured in front of the media after the game. 

“I was just delighted to get out there, walking out in the green jersey in my home town of Dublin is the best feeling I’ve ever felt.

“I felt I did well. I had a couple of chances, I could have maybe taken them, but I felt I did well, yeah.” 

How does his manager assess his performance? 

“Troy did ok. He didn’t set the world on fire, but what he did I was really pleased with. He ran the channels, had a couple of chances – I know everyone is desperate for him to score – but the ‘keeper thwarted him. I’m pleased, overall. 

“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 didn’t back down when Reid glared and glowed at him when he picked himself off the turf, although the teenager wasn’t making much of it after the game. “It was just heat of the moment.” 

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troy-parrott-and-winston-reid Parrott and Reid square up. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

This caps a remarkable few months for Parrott. He could have been involved with Ireland’s U17s during the summer, but instead he was pressed into action against Juventus and Manchester United on Spurs’ pre-season tour. He has since scored thrice for the Irish U21s, made his first-team debut for Spurs against Colchester in the Carabao Cup, scored four goals in a single Uefa Youth League game, made the bench for a Premier League game in Harry Kane’s absence…and is now a senior Irish international. 

Not bad? 

“Of course I have been satisfied with the strides I’ve been making, but I’m just going to try to keep on doing what I can do, working hard and trying to learn off people and hopefully I can go far in the game.” 

The next – and most immediate – step is a potential involvement against Denmark in the effective Euro 2020 play-off on Monday. “Of course, yeah”, he said when asked if he hopes to feature in that game. “That’s the dream for everyone. Obviously it’s a massive game, and we’ve taken tonight’s positive result going into Monday’s big game.” 

Parrott was unflappable throughout his post-match press conference, reflecting on his debut Irish experience with the kind of contentment that’s a long way from awe.

There was only one moment when his guard slipped slightly, when asked whether he could take anything from tonight back to the U21s setup.

Parrott smiled with the air of a man who hadn’t given the prospect of stepping back down the slightest bit of thought.

“Yeah, maybe, if I go back down.” 

Oh, we should have mentioned the song he settled for last night. 

Stand by Me. 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney  / reports from the Aviva Stadium

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