Shamrock Rovers midfielder Jack Byrne is far from a senior player in this current Irish squad, but he has taken on the role of mentor for one of the group’s newest faces.
17-year-old Tottenham striker Troy Parrott has been included in the senior Irish set-up for the first time after promising displays with his club’s underages sides and Stephen Kenny’s U21s.
Parrott trained at FAI HQ for the first time on Monday afternoon with manager Mick McCarthy confirming that the talented prospect would be featuring in Thursday’s friendly against New Zealand.
The week represents a brilliant opportunity for Parrott to impress in the senior setup for the first time and according to Robbie Brady, returning to the squad for the first time since September, the Spurs striker has looked sharp and is being looked after by a fellow Dubliner.
“Yeah, very good. He’s got great physicality, the size of him for 17, he’s a big lad. He’s come in with a smile on his face, I think Jack Byrne has his arm around him and is looking after him.
“The two of them are looking after each other! The two of them are in good form.
“It’s exciting times, it’s always good when a young lad comes in and we do all we can to make him feel at home.
“He seems to be settling in well, and it’s great to have him in.”
Byrne, who was recently named as the 2019 PFAI Player of the Year, will win his second cap in the game against the All Whites with many fans pining for him to start.
Four days after the New Zealand friendly, the The Boys in Green face Denmark in a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier they must win to reach the tournament next summer. Ireland’s objective is clear, as only a win will do against the Danes, but the task won’t be simple.
The match next Monday will be the sixth meeting between the teams in the last two years and Ireland have failed to win any, drawing four and losing one – the infamous 5-1 hammering in Dublin two years ago in the second leg of the 2018 World Cup play-off.
However, first up is the friendly against New Zealand on Thursday, with a chance for some of the fringe players to perhaps stake a claim at Monday’s starting XI.