It has taken a while, but Troy Parrott finally looks to have his feet under the table when it comes to international football.
Many expected that he would be immediately thrown into the deep end after Stephen Kenny's appointment as Ireland manager, although things did not quite work out that. While the Dubliner would be a fixture in the squad, he often found playing time hard to come by during the first 12 months of his tenure.
That now seems to be changing.
Parrott started three of the four games in this window, producing a goal and an assist in the victory over Scotland at the weekend. While he would not repeat that feat i the draw against Ukraine tonight, he did catch the eye with a well-rounded centre forward performance, one that would indicate that he is becoming more and more comfortable at this level.
The 20-year old's linkup play was impressive, coming up with some tidy touches in and around the box. The only blot on his copybook was a missed chance in the first half, heading over when he had the opportunity to give his team the lead.
Troy Parrott can't find the target after a lovely back post cross from Jason Knight #ukrirl #rtesoccer
📻 https://t.co/QHSJNYlfx8 pic.twitter.com/EiMGxzEMY8
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 14, 2022
Despite this, his time on the pitch was hopefully a sign of things to come from him in an Ireland jersey.
Troy Parrott ready to star for Ireland?
The system used by Ireland in the last two games certainly seems to suit Troy Parrott, linking up with his fellow striker both in possession and when pressing the opposition. It allows him to concentrate more on the strongest area of his game, which is hurting the opposition with his movement and having the ball at his feet.
Speaking on RTÉ after the game, both Kevin Doyle and Shay Given said that this game was the latest example of how he is quickly becoming an important player for Ireland. However, the Donegal man also warned that he must get his next move at club level right in order to continue his recent progress.
Doyle: Tonight he will be disappointed that he didn't score, he had a really good opportunity.
He is getting positions and pressing really strongly from the front. He is looking fitter and stronger than I have seen him in the last couple of years, he is really playing well...
In the second half he kept going. He showed good holdup play, good endeavour. He didn't get his goal like he did against Scotland game, didn't get his assist like he did against Scotland, but he made an impact tonight in areas where you need your centre forward, closing down really well and winning the ball back.
Unfortunately he should have scored and didn't. He is a confident player and I'd imagine it won't affect him that much...
Given: It's refreshing to play two up top. Sometimes when you play one up top you feel isolated...
When you get the extra striker up there, and Stephen Kenny would have worked on it, you know you're pressing together and you can support each other. The goals will come. He is getting into the positions so the goals will definitely follow.
The biggest thing for him now in pre-season, I know he is going back to Tottenham, but his next move is so important. He has to go to a club where the manager puts his arm around him and says 'you're my main striker, you're the player that's going to perform'.
He has to play week in, week out and the goals will come. That can only help Ireland going forward as well.
Troy Parrott finished the season in fine form at MK Dons and is likely to find himself on loan in the Championship next season. Having had a couple of bad experiences in recent seasons, he will want to be careful in selecting his next club.
In terms of his international future, this system is one that seems to get the best out of him. His partnership with Michael Obafemi looked incredibly promising and should certainly be explored once again during the next international window in August.