McCarthy urges patience over Parrott, Sonia O’Sullivan on Mary Cain
The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Raheem Sterling has been left out of England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro on Thursday night. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty
A crucial international window for the Republic of Ireland gets underway this evening, with Mick McCarthy’s side taking on New Zealand in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 7.45pm, RTÉ 2). And McCarthy has handed a full senior debut to 17-year-old Tottenham Hotspur striker Troy Parrott, as he names a youthful side ahead of next Monday’s crunch Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark. Parrott becomes the third-youngest debutant in Ireland’s history, after Jimmy Holmes and Robbie Keane, but McCarthy has urged supporters to be patient with the prodigious Spurs forward. He said: “Can I say something? Robbie Keane was playing in the Wolves’ team at 17, playing competitive football in a first team environment. There is a huge difference, a huge, huge difference. It doesn’t take a special kind to be pitched in. It takes a special kind to thrive, to do well, to make a good impression and impress everybody. I hope that’s going to be the case with Troy. Robbie did it instantly.” Among the more experienced members of McCarthy’s starting XI are Robbie Brady and Ciaran Clark, with the Newcastle United defender eager to make the most of his opportunity after a spell in the international wilderness.
Earlier in the day the Republic of Ireland Under-21s continue their Euro 2021 qualification campaign, away to Armenia in Yerevan (kick-off 12pm Irish time). Injuries, suspension and Parrott’s selection for the senior side mean Stephen Kenny is without eight first-choice players for the first part of a double-header, and he has handed debuts to four players - including Stoke City defender Nathan Collins. Elsewhere England take on Montenegro at Wembley tonight (kick-off 7.45pm, UTV and Virgin Media One) knowing one point would be enough to secure their place at Euro 2020. It is the England national team’s 1000th fixture, and ahead of it manager Gareth Southgate has defended his decision to drop Raheem Sterling, following the Manchester City forward’s bust-up with Joe Gomez earlier in the week. “We take the decision and drew a line under everything,” he said.