Christian Eriksen is tipping his Tottenham Hotspur teammate Troy Parrott to lead Ireland’s line in tomorrow’s concluding European qualifier.
Denmark require just a draw to reach the 2020 finals at Ireland’s expense but their talisman Eriksen and manager Age Hareide are wary of Mick McCarthy’s teen wildcard.
Parrott is considered a long-term replacement at White Hart Lane for unsettled Eriksen and the Dane feels the 17-year-old striker, 10 years his junior, is destined for big things.
Tomorrow’s concluding Group D game at Lansdowne Road, where shot-shy Ireland require goals to qualify, could be the setting for the teen to play his first minutes of senior competitive.
Eriksen, who destroyed Ireland’s World Cup ambitions with a hat-trick on his last visit to Dublin two years ago, is certain that Parrott is up to the task.
“I hope Troy plays as it will be good fun to see him on the pitch,” the 27-year-old said of his clubmate who made his first-team debut in the Carabao Cup in September.
He has showed in training and games for Spurs that he’s capable of joining in at the highest level. For a player so young, he is a great striker who makes brilliant runs and scores with excellent finishes.
“Troy is not a shy guy. He stands his ground against defenders. I read that he did very well on his Ireland debut against New Zealand and I expect him to play lots more matches for Ireland and Tottenham.”
Injury prevented Eriksen making his Dublin return for last year’s meeting of the nations in the UEFA Nations League but subject of Lansdowne Road brings a beaming smile across his face.
Naturally, he’s not expecting the time of room afforded to him by Ireland in that World Cup play-off which ended 5-1 for the visitors, but the midfielder wants more magic moments.
“Hopefully, I can make some new fun memories in Dublin,” said the 27-year-old, whose brace in Friday’s 6-0 win over Gibraltar brought his tally to 31 goals in 94 internationals.
“This will be an intense game. Ireland will probably go with same players who’ve played in the whole campaign. We won’t get many chances, so it’s a case of taking them when they arrive.
“Ireland are a better team under the new manager. Mick McCarthy has changed the system, which means they’re more aggressive and have more structure to the team.”