On Friday night, Ireland’s U21s picked up a 1-0 win over Armenia at Tallaght Stadium to keep their 100% record in European Qualifying alive.
The scoreline may have been narrow but Stephen Kenny’s men impressed once again with their stylish, free-flowing and attacking brand of football in front of 3,500 fans in Tallaght.
For Tottenham striker Troy Parrott, the game represented his first cap at U21 level and it was his goal late in the first half, after some tremendous work on the left from Aaron Connolly, which handed the Boys in Green all three points.
Parrott has caught the eye at U17 and U19 level for his country as well as being involved in the Tottenham first team in pre-season, playing against the likes of Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid.
So how did the 17-year-old find his first taste of U21 football with Ireland?
“I found it difficult, Armenia were a good team,” Parrott told Pundit Arena after the win.
“You’d notice the difference in the time you’d get on the ball but I’m just happy to get the goal and get off the mark with a win. A goal will give anyone confidence, I felt like I could’ve had two or three but I’m happy with the one and happy with the win.”
The young striker started the game in the number ten role just behind Norwich frontman Adam Idah in what was a fluid and effective attacking quartet which also included the lively Aaron Connolly and Bournemouth’s Gavin Kilkenny.
Parrott then played a portion of the game as the target man further up the field as he showed his versatility against the Armenians.
The former Belvedere standout explained that the ability to occupy more than one position across the front is something that has helped his game massively.
“The way I see it is, if I can play more positions then I have a better chance at getting in the team. I played at youth level for Ireland in the 10, left-wing, right-wing, up front.
“I like playing in any of those positions and doing the best for the team no matter where I play.”
Friday night’s goal represents another standout moment in what’s shaping up to be a brilliant season for Parrott, with an appearance for the Spurs first team seemingly on the horizon given the fact that manager Mauricio Pochettino has included him in his Champions League squad and referred to him as the club’s second choice striker.
Parrott explained that he tries not to take too much from his manager’s comments or his inclusion in the European squad outlining that his main focus is on trying to improve day by day in training.
“It’s been really good. I felt like I had a good pre-season, I enjoyed that a lot and just training and trying to keep improve day by day so that’s been really good as well.
“I don’t take notice to that kind of stuff, I just try and keep working hard in training and getting better again.”
Watching Parrott play on Friday night, it’s easy to see why he is so highly rated by so many in the game, even at such a young age.
There is a growing sense of notoriety around him, especially from Irish fans, that he is the great white hope of the national team and that we may have finally found the successor to Robbie Keane in the goal scoring stakes.
Given the level of hype it would be understandable for Parrott to let the noise affect him and his game – even more so when you consider his tender age.
The striker explains however that he has developed tunnel vision and the key for him is trying not to get too hung up and both the ups and the downs that football can deliver.
“I try to keep it all out and block it all out and have tunnel vision of what I’m trying to achieve and just keep getting better and better every day. There’s ups and downs in football. I don’t try to get to into the ups and hopefully there’s not too many downs.”