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Troy Parrott’s work ethic makes the right impression on Stephen Kenny

Republic of Ireland v Azerbaijan – FIFA World Cup 2022 – European Qualifying – Group A – Aviva Stadium
(Image credit: Niall Carson)

Republic of Ireland striker Troy Parrott has been challenged to reap the rewards of his hard work after realising he was only going to get “one shot” at making it.

The 20-year-old Tottenham frontman already has 10 senior international caps to his name, most of them as a substitute, and is currently playing for League One MK Dons in the third loan spell of his fledgling career.

He could find himself pitched into battle with world number one side Belgium on Saturday evening and if he does so, he will run out having endured a difficult few months during which he has matured as a player.

Ireland boss Stephen Kenny said: “Troy has had to sacrifice himself a little bit for the team at MK Dons, he’s had to play in a variety of positions.

“He had a little period where he lost his place – he had Covid and he got sent off after he came back from Covid in a cup game.

“You are thinking, ‘right, he’s got a job to do to make sure he stays in the international squad because this is a little period for him, a little test for him’.

“But he knuckled down and he had about six consecutive matches where he played the full 90 minutes. Even though the manager was making three substitutions in the attacking areas, he was the one who was never taken off.

“They are on a good run – they are third in League One and they are going well. He is still a young player and he has done well.

“He has not probably scored the amount of goals he’d like to have scored, but he has sacrificed himself.

“He got two last week against Cheltenham, but he has certainly sacrificed himself for the team and has put in tremendous work and has been a great team-mate to the players.”

Parrott, who has been touted as a future star for Ireland since his teenage years, has admitted he found himself at a watershed in his career as he waited for his breakthrough at Spurs, and decided he had only one option.

Luxembourg v Republic of Ireland – FIFA World Cup 2022 – European Qualifying – Group A – Stade de Luxembourg

Stephen Kenny believes Troy Parrott will only get better (John Walton/PA)

The striker said: “It came at a time when I was in and out of the team and I just realised that ultimately you get one shot at this football game and where I was at the time wasn’t helping me get to where I wanted to get to.

“I realised I just needed to do more. I needed to be playing if I wanted to get to where I wanted to get to.”

That came as music to the ears of Kenny, for whom he played previously at Under-21s level.

The manager said: “I’d be in regular contact with him and obviously I’ve been to their games and met him afterwards.

“Nobody deserves credit, only himself for knuckling down and realising the amount of work he had to do to get himself right. I think he is going to improve from here and he will only get better.”

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