Stephen Kenny is confident Tottenham striker Troy Parrott has a major contribution to make as the Republic of Ireland attempt to defy the odds and qualify for the European Under-21 Championships.
The 17-year-old striker marked his debut with the only goal in Friday night’s 1-0 victory over Armenia at Tallaght Stadium which left Ireland with six points from their opening two fixtures.
Manager Kenny is desperate to alleviate any pressure on the teenager, who is only one of a promising pool of strikers in the squad, but is expecting him to make an impact during he remainder of the campaign, which continues in Sweden on Tuesday.
He said: “Troy is only 17. He’s one of a number of good strikers.
“It’s very competitive – Adam Idah has done really well for us, Jonathan Afolabi was picked in the top-four players at the European Championships, and Aaron Connolly played for Brighton against Manchester City and scored in the Carabao Cup, and we’ve got Troy also.
“Troy is only 17 and he’s just coming in and finding his way. It’s his first time in the Under-21 camp. Obviously we’ve selected him on previous occasions, but he’s been very unfortunate with injuries.
“He needs time and he needs to get games under his belt – he’s not played all that many games. He has a great attitude, he’s a great lad and he’ll be an integral part of our team for the campaign.”
Kenny’s men, who are seeded fourth in Group 1, will run out in Kalmar brimming with confidence after turning in a performance which might have yielded a far more comprehensive win.
With senior boss Mick McCarthy in attendance, skipper Jayson Molumby and Connolly were particularly impressive, and Kenny will hope for a repeat against the Swedes to lay down a marker in the group.