Former Republic of Ireland striker Stephen Elliott believes that it's important not to expect too much too soon from Troy Parrott despite David McGoldrick’s surprise retirement.
The Sheffield United forward announced the end of his international career at the age of 32 last week, just three months after being named Ireland’s senior player of the year.
While McGoldrick only scored one goal in his 14 appearances, he was well regarded for his link-up play and ability to lead the line alone, and Elliott says the departure of his one-time club team-mate is a blow to manager Stephen Kenny.
"I was a bit surprised," Elliott told the RTÉ Soccer Podcast. "He’s not an age where you would think he was ready to step down, and he hasn’t played a lot of international football, he came into the scene a little later than most.
"To lose a player of his calibre, playing in the Premier League and amongst the goals, is a big blow for Ireland.
"The fact that he has played a lot of his career in the lower divisions, and he has now finally made it to the Premier League, I played with David at Coventry and that was always his dream.
"He has finally got there and he’s in the latter stages of his career, maybe he wants to prolong that."
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A year ago, Parrott made his only senior international appearance aged just 17, in a friendly win over New Zealand in Mick McCarthy's penultimate game in charge.
Now on loan from Spurs to Championship promotion hopefuls Millwall, an ankle injury has kept the forward on the sidelines for most of the season to date.
He is nearing fitness however, and has been called into Jim Crawford's U21 squad for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Iceland and Luxembourg.
Despite leaving him out of the senior squad, Kenny, who knows Parrott well from his time in charge of the U21s, namechecked him alongside Adam Idah, Aaron Connolly and Callum Robinson as being among Ireland's developing options up front.
"There are such big expectations around Troy, I just worry that all it doesn’t become a bit too much for him pressure-wise," said Elliott.
"You get a little bit excited when he’s scoring goals for the young international teams and people are saying he could be the next Harry Kane but I think we have to take a back seat with Troy and let him get a run of games in the first team and build up physically. It is a bit different to playing U21, U23 football.
"From what I have seen he has more finishing ability and knowledge of the game than even some of the other younger lads coming through.
"So there’s no doubt he has the credentials to go on and be a top star for Ireland and it’s just a matter of finding the right time to integrate him into the team and the squad. I think Stephen Kenny will be fully aware of that.
"When Jack Byrne first broke onto the scene there was talk of him being a superstar and it didn’t quite work that way so we have to be a little bit careful."
On Thursday night, Ireland play England in a friendly at Wembley Stadium (8pm, live on RTÉ2), which was also the venue for Ireland's most recent defeat in the fixture, back in 1985. The last six meetings with our neighbours have ended in draws.
While next week's games against Wales (Sunday 15 November) and Bulgaria (18 November) have more at stake in terms of potential World Cup play-off places, Elliott believes a result against England could help Kenny win more patience from fans as he seeks to change Ireland's style of play amid a winless run of five games.
"Ireland v England is always a huge game. Obviously, the Nations League games on paper are more important but ultimately, when you’re playing against England you want to beat them.
"Out of the three games, Stephen Kenny will be thinking if he can beat England, that will go a long way to potentially knocking a bit of the criticism he has been getting."
Follow England v Republic of Ireland this Thursday via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app or watch live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player from 7.30pm.