'To score the late winner in front of the home fans, maybe a mile away from my house, is honestly incredible'
This is the player we were all getting in a tizzy about, back in 2019.
It was never Troy Parrott's fault that he was stuck with the Irish goal-scoring mantle from as soon as he started making waves at Tottenham.
Signed. by Spurs in 2017, Parrott signed his first professional contract, on his 17th birthday, in February 2019 and went on their pre-season tour, the summer of that same year. Professional [League Cup] and Premier League debuts followed.
Starved of a regular goalscorer since Robbie Keane retired, in 2016, Irish supporters, pundits and outlets [ourselves included] focused on the rise of this talented young Dubliner. Maybe a few of us got ahead of ourselves. Jose Mourinho was scolded, when he was still Spurs boss, for bemoaning his lack of forwards while not giving him more game-time.
Parrott may have got ahead of himself as well. Earlier in the week, as he spoke to reporters ahead of Ireland's to friendly games, he admitted as much himself.
His loan spells at Millwall and MK Dons, where he is currently playing, have grounded him and, in a way, removed him from that intense Premier League spotlight. He has been given some time and space to develop as a player.
Parrott made two Ireland appearances, over 2019 and 2020, but he started to bed in with the national team in 2021. Stephen Kennny, Keith Andrews and the other Irish coaches have worked closely with him. He showed what he was capable when he netted twice against Andorra as Ireland came from behind to win.
On Tuesday night at Aviva Stadium, he got us excited again. And with good reason.
It was almost more impressive to hear how Parrott talk us through his thought process for what turned out to be a 97th minute match-winner.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) March 29, 2022
Troy Parrott on his special Ireland goal
Asked if his goal in Ireland's 1-0 win ranked as his career highlight, to date, Troy Parrott said, "By far, by far.
"To score the winner that late in the Aviva in front of the home fans, maybe a mile or so away from my house, is honestly incredible."
The composure and technique in the 20-year-old's strike was so impressive.
With the match clock at 96:10, Conor Hourihane whipped in a cross meant for Scott Hogan that was headed clear. Parrott took a touch to control the ball, but was still about 25 yards from goal. He takes up the running:
"When Conor was going to cross the ball, I was too far away from getting into the box, so I tried to read where the second ball was going to land and it came straight to me. It felt like the ball was never going to come down, I had to take two touches before I could get the shot off.
"As soon as it didn’t get blocked by the first man coming out, I had a feeling it was going towards the goal. To see it hit the back of the net was crazy."
It was the thought process of a natural goalscorer, and it bodes well for his career with club and country.
Chiedozie Ogbene and Callum Robinson look to have attacking spots in the Ireland XI tied down, and you have the likes of Hogan, Will Keane and Nathan Collins in the squad, too. Parrott has not guaranteed any starts for himself yet, but he has flung down one hell of a calling card.
The best part for his development with this Irish team is the fact that he should not have all the goalscoring expectations thrust upon him. He is a work in progress, and he is now getting all the help he needs, and knows when to seek it out.