Troy Parrott could yet return to Ireland’s U21s for tomorrow’s Euro qualifier against Sweden as manager Stephen Kenny will wait to see if the teen is involved for the seniors tomorrow night. The Tottenham youngster scored three goals in his first games at U21 level in September only to be sent-off in his next outing last month against Italy.
Having served a one-match ban in the defeat to Iceland, he was promoted to the full squad to be granted his debut on Thursday against New Zealand. That introduction made 17-year-old the third youngest ever senior cap and McCarthy has kept hold of the teen for the showdown against the Danes.
Much will depend on whether McCarthy utilises Parrott, most likely off the bench, in the must-win concluding Euro qualifier. Kenny hasn’t ruled out calling upon his star turn for his own crunch qualifier, depending on how many, if any, first competitive minutes Parrott gets at Lansdowne Road.
Ireland head their U21 group by three points heading into the last three fixtures of the campaign. A win over second seeds Sweden in front of a packed Tallaght Stadium would significantly boost their prospects of reaching a first-ever major tournament.
“It’s all about the first-team tomorrow night, to be fair, so hopefully Troy gets on and scores the winner,” Kenny said about the Tottenham teenager. "At the moment, we’re planning for the game without him but we’ll see.”
Kenny and his squad arrived back from their win over Armenia in the early hours of Saturday morning. Zack Elbouzedi’s solitary strike in Yerevan secured victory but a gruelling five flight return trip presents a challenge in such a quick turnaround.
We only had our first proper training session on Sunday morning,” said the manager who is due to succeed McCarthy next summer. Physically, we’ll be okay but psychologically the players have to get very focused very quickly. Sweden are very determined to beat us and have had a full week to prepare for the match without any games.
Lee O’Connor returns from making his full debut on Thursday to slot in at right-back. “It was great to see Lee rewarded with a full cap,” he said the Celtic defender.
“He’s played over 60 internationals at various age-groups. He went straight from our U21 tournament in Toulon to the U19 Euros in Armenia. It’s brilliant to see that of commitment because not everyone views international football like that.”
Jayson Molumby also linked up with the squad on Saturday after missing the Armenia game through suspension but the captain is nursing a back strain. After missing training yesterday’s, his availability will be decided after the final session at Tallaght Stadium tomorrow. Fit-again Conor Masterson should fill in for the suspended Dara O’Shea alongside Nathan Collins at centre-back. A limited amount of tickets for the match are still on sale.