Mick McCarthy has challenged Troy Parrott to force his way into contention at Tottenham to stand a chance of making the Republic of Ireland senior squad.
The 17-year-old year-old striker has enjoyed a remarkable few days with the Republic’s Under-21s, scoring the winner on his debut against Armenia on Friday evening before adding a double to that first goal after coming off the bench in a 3-1 European Championship qualifier victory in Sweden on Tuesday.
His feat came just hours before McCarthy’s much-changed senior side beat Bulgaria 3-1 in a friendly in Dublin with the manager having resisted the temptation to draft in players from Stephen Kenny’s squad.
Asked afterwards what Parrott had to do to catch his eye, the manager said: “Get in the first team.
“You do realise that the U21s and the U23s where he’s playing is far-removed from where we are playing, don’t you? There’s a huge difference.
“If I think he’s right, I’ll take him. We’ll try and get him watched. It’s interesting – if he hadn’t come on and scored his goals, I wonder what would the questions be had he not come on, because Stephen’s not played him?”
McCarthy, who will be succeeded by Kenny at the end of the current campaign, made 10 changes to the side which secured a 1-1 Euro 2020 qualifier draw with Switzerland on Thursday evening and saw his under-studies do themselves no harm.
Charlton midfielder Josh Cullen impressed on debut, as did substitutes Jack Byrne and James Collins, with the latter marking his bow with the third goal after Alan Browne and Kevin Long had struck either side of Ivelin Popov’s equalising penalty.
All will hope to play some part in the squad for next month’s crucial double-header in Georgia and Sweden, where McCarthy hinted he is once again unlikely to deplete Kenny’s resources.
He said: “You’re all talking about them coming through into the first team. When he gets the job – and it won’t be that long now – he’ll be perfectly placed.
“In the meantime, it’s me that’s come in and [I] could have taken the backlash had we drawn in Gibraltar or lost in Gibraltar, and that’s protected him from that.
“Hopefully we qualify, get to the Euros and it will be seen as a really good decision to have done what we did.”