Ireland U21s manager Stephen Kenny with Troy Parrott after the game. Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Troy Parrott on playing for Ireland, being Spurs' second-choice striker and learning from Harry Kane

The 17-year-old Spurs attacker also discusses how he manages coping with the hype surrounding him.

FOLLOWING HIS MATCH-WINNING goal for Ireland U21s against Armenia last night, The42 and a couple of others caught up with Troy Parrott for a quick Q and A.

Below is a lightly edited transcript of the chat with the player considered one of Irish football’s brightest prospects for the future.

How do you sum up your first cap for Ireland U21s?

I found it good. Armenia are obviously a good team. You notice the time you get on the ball — the difference is high. But I was happy to get the first goal and get off the mark.

Did the goal give you confidence and help you grow into the game?

Yeah, obviously a goal would give anyone confidence. I felt I could have had two or three, but I’m happy with the one I scored.

How have you found working under Stephen Kenny?

I’ve loved it. I’ve loved the style of play. I’ve loved the team. So it’s been enjoyable all round.

At club level, you’ve been included in Tottenham’s Champions League squad and had some encouraging moments playing with the first team in pre-season. How have you found it so far?

It’s been really good. I felt I had a good pre-season. I enjoyed that a lot. After that, I’ve been just training and trying to keep improving and getting better and better every day. 

Maurcio Pochettino recently described you as Tottenham’s second-choice striker. That must fill you with confidence?

It does and it doesn’t. I don’t take notice of most of that stuff. I just keep trying to do what I can do in training and [trying to] get better.

Do you feel like you’re not far off a senior start for Spurs? You’ve a game coming up in the League Cup with Colchester that you could be involved in potentially.

I’m not sure really. Again, I’m just in training doing what I can do to the best of my abilities, trying to keep improving and if the chance does come, I’ll be ready.

What’s it like working with players such as Harry Kane? Would he ever give you advice?

Yeah, obviously he’s a world-class striker, so it’s really good to be in and around them, doing finishing drills with them. You find yourself getting better and better every day.

Do you know at this stage if you’re definitely going to Sweden with Ireland U21s or is there still a possibility you could link up with the senior squad for the Bulgaria game on Tuesday?

I’m not sure. In my mind, I’m going to Sweden to get another three points on the board. That’s what I’m thinking about now.

How have you dealt with the hype around you. Is it easy to ignore?

I try to keep it all out, block it out. Have tunnel vision and focus on what I’m trying to do and what I’m trying to achieve. I just want to keep getting better.

Has it been hard to take it in, with everything happening quite fast at this stage in your career?

I just try not to think about it. There are ups and downs in football. I don’t try to get too into the ups, and hopefully there won’t be many downs. 

What did Robbie Keane say to you?

Just a bit of craic.

Nothing significant?


How have you found stepping up at various levels?

I try not to think too much into what level I’m playing at, or what I need to do in games and stuff. I just go out and try to enjoy myself. That’s the main thing in football, just enjoying it. And at the moment, I’m loving it.

Did it feel very different though, playing at senior level in pre-season?

Of course, there’s a difference playing U23s and playing against Juventus and United, but it doesn’t matter what age group I play at, I’m always trying to do the best that I can and enjoy my football.

Has Mick McCarthy spoken to you at all?


You started the match playing behind Adam Idah and then went up front towards the end. Are you comfortable being versatile like this?

Of course, always. The way I see it is if I can play in more positions, I’ve a better chance of getting into the team. I’ve played at youth level for Ireland at 10, left wing, right wing, up front, so I like playing in any of them positions. I try to do the best for the team that I can no matter what position I play in.

Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Bernard Jackman make the case for Ireland winning… and tanking at the Rugby World Cup, as we gear up for Wales again: 

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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