This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Tottenham Hotspur striker Troy Parrott will make his Republic of Ireland debut against New Zealand on Thursday, manager Mick McCarthy has confirmed, per BBC Sport.
The young Spurs ace is just 17 but he has already made his first-team debut for the club, playing 66 minutes in the penalty shootout defeat to Colchester United in the Carabao Cup. He was also named on the bench for the 1-1 draw with Everton at Goodison Park.
Parrott has been in electric form for Tottenham’s youth teams, scoring 15 goals in 13 games for the U18s and four in 13 for the U23s.
An Ireland youth international who has three goals at U21 level already under his belt, Parrott is set to make his senior bow in Thursday’s friendly.
McCarthy said: “He’s a bright, very intelligent footballer that’s very good with the ball at his feet.
“He did some really good things yesterday [Tuesday].
“I think he found it tough enough, it was a pretty hard session, but he enjoyed it. He is very capable, there’s no doubt about that.”
There is a very real risk this could backfire.
Parrott is clearly a very talented young man and he is also an excellent youth team striker.
But to be handing an international debut to a player who has played 66 minutes of senior football seems extreme at this stage.
Perhaps Ireland merely have a dearth of quality strikers but one feels they should tread carefully around Parrott.
We have all seen players hyped to the moon before their international debuts – the likes of Aaron Lennon and Micah Richards immediately spring to mind for England, having won their first caps as teenagers – only to then fizzle out.
There is no guarantee of regular football at Spurs, either, with Harry Kane around.
This is clearly a gesture of goodwill and a show of faith in Parrott’s abilities but it also feels uncomfortable, what with him likely to return to youth football when he gets back to north London.
He is not even an established name at the club yet; McCarthy should think again before selecting Parrott, and heaping pressure on such young shoulders.