Troy Parrott is confident the Republic of Ireland’s pool of emerging strikers herald an exciting new era for the nation.
The 19-year-old Tottenham frontman marked his fifth senior cap with his first international goals, a double in Thursday night’s 4-1 comeback victory in Andorra, as Stephen Kenny’s faith in a new generation of players paid dividends.
Parrott, 21-year-old Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah have all been given their chance by the new manager, the latest men to attempt to fill the chasm left by the retirement of record goalscorer Robbie Keane in 2016, and Parrott is convinced the future is bright.
The Spurs marksman said: “In my opinion, people should be excited. Everyone is pushing each other in training, all the lads are helping the younger lads and trying to give them experience through words. I think people should be excited.”
Parrott, Brighton’s Connolly and Norwich striker Idah all came through the Under-21s set-up under Kenny at the same time as attempting to establish themselves as Premier League players.
Asked about the pressure that presented, the teenager said: “The three of us have been thrown into it and are learning on the job, but I think if you ask the three of us, we wouldn’t want it any other way.
“Obviously when the three of us were coming through the 21s and we were scoring goals and stuff, there were going to be people asking questions.
“I wouldn’t say there’s been a heap-load of pressure. Maybe there has, maybe there hasn’t, I just haven’t paid attention to it, really. I’m not sure about the other lads, I can’t really speak for them.
“Scoring the two goals is massive for me. It’s going to give me a massive confidence boost. Right now, I feel on top of the world, so it’s helped me out a lot.”
Parrott has had to remain patient at club level with then Spurs boss Jose Mourinho sending him out on loan to Millwall and then Ipswich last season, and what the future holds for him remains to be seen.
Kenny believes he is still growing into his body, but is confident there is much more to come after his goals at the Estadi Nacional overhauled Marc Vales’ shock opener before Jason Knight and substitute Daryl Horgan made sure of victory, a first for the manager at the 12th time of asking.
Kenny said: “He’s grown into his own body in the last year and a half and all of a sudden, he’s got stronger shoulders and he’s not moving as fluently and as fluidly, and that’s been a factor for him.
“I do think that he is still very young and he still has a lot of improving to do and people aren’t sure what his best position is, but he has the ability to create and score goals and we need as much of that as we can get.”
The weight of expectation on such a young player has been tough, but Parrott remains unbowed.
He said: “No-one wants to be criticised, but it pushes me and makes me want to do even better.
“I try not to pay attention to that too much, I want to concentrate on my football and ultimately score more goals.”