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Dublin: 15 °C Saturday 17 August, 2019
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Irish striker relishes 'surreal' experience playing against Ronaldo and Buffon in front of 50,000

Dubliner Troy Parrott started Tottenham’s pre-season friendly against Juventus in Singapore on Sunday.

IRELAND STRIKER TROY Parrott relished the opportunity to feature for Tottenham’s senior side for the first time on Sunday, with the 17-year-old starting against Juventus during a pre-season friendly in Singapore.

The Dubliner played the first 45 minutes as Spurs secured a 3-2 win at the National Stadium, Parrott playing an impressive role in the build-up to Erik Lamela’s opener to make it 1-0 in the first half.

Singapore Soccer Champions Cup Erik Lamela celebrates with Troy Parrott after opening the scoring. Source: Danial Hakim

The young striker began a move by picking up possession in midfield, picking out a team-mate with a forward pass and driving on with an overlapping run past Juve defender Daniele Rugani.

He retained possession inside the box before seeing his low right-footed strike saved by legendary Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, as Lamela closed in on the re-bound for a simple tap-in.

“Just Buffon to beat, it sounds a bit surreal,” he said on his first-half effort which led to his team-mate’s goal. “I just tried to keep it down and it was so close going in, but luckily enough Coco came in on the rebound and scored, so it’s happy days.”

Parrott moved to White Hart Lane in 2017 from Belvedere and has long been tipped as one of Irish football’s most impressive prospects. He lined out for Spurs’ U18s and U23s last season and regularly trained with Mauricio Pochettino’s senior side too.

Republic of Ireland v Belgium - UEFA European U17 Championship - Group C - Loughborough University Stadium Parrott joined Tottenham in 2017 and trained with Pochettino's senior side regularly last season. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

“I really enjoyed it,” Parrott said about playing against a Juventus side which featured Cristiano Ronaldo, Buffon, Leonardo Bonucci, Mario Mandžukić and Emre Can in front of a sold-out crowd.

“First of all it was unbelievable to play at such a high level against such good opposition. At the start the nerves kick in, but once you start the game you just want to keep going.

“You don’t want to stop. When you get that little bit of experience at this level you just want more and more.

“When you come out of the tunnel and you see 50,000 fans, you see the opposition you’re playing against, you get butterflies and stuff.

“But once you’re across that line it’s like any other game, you’re just trying to do what you can do to win.”

Parrott was one of a number of academy graduates to feature against the Italian giants yesterday.

He said Pochettino was continuing to show his faith in young players, which he hopes will lead to more opportunities in the near future.

“It just goes to show that the gaffer is willing to give the young players a chance,” the Dubliner said.

“I think that motivates nearly all of us to keep pushing on and pushing on.

“When you get that little bit of experience, you just want more and more and more, so hopefully this can push us all on and hopefully we can just keep going.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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