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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 February, 2004, 16:41 GMT
Parry caps amazing rise
Paul Parry made an impressive Wales debut against Scotland
Paul Parry is pinching himself after a remarkable six-week rise from Conference to international football.

After just five outings for Cardiff since signing from Hereford, the wide midfielder won his first cap in Wednesday's 4-0 win over Scotland.

"The last Wales match against Russia I paid to come in as a fan and was never expecting to be involved a couple of months later," said the 23-year-old.

"It was fantastic and as soon as the whistle went I was itching to get on."

Parry won a place among the substitutes because Wales manager Mark Hughes was without 10 senior players through injury.

But the 75,000 bargain buy got an early call to action just after the half-hour mark, when Tottenham's Simon Davies limped off after being clattered.

Parry's first touch set the tone for his evening's contribution - a pin-point pass up the left flank into Ryan Giggs' feet.

He showed me he could make the step up... he has certainly given me an extra option
Wales boss Mark Hughes

That gave the Manchester United star time and space to send over a cross for Parry's Cardiff team-mate Rob Earnshaw to head the second goal of his memorable hat-trick.

"I was hoping to get on maybe five or 10 minutes before the end but wasn't expecting it to be as early as the first half," Parry said.

"It is horrible for someone to get injured for you to get on, but when I got on I just wanted to show people what I could do and hopefully they've seen enough for future call-ups."

Earnshaw claimed his hat-trick on 58 minutes, blasting the ball past Scotland goalkeeper Rab Douglas after being released by Robbie Savage.

But there was still time for Parry to make another telling contribution, his slide-rule pass setting up Nottingham Forest's Gareth Taylor for his first international goal.

It capped a fine night's work that gave Hughes one more reason to be delighted by his team's performance.

"He is a tough lad, I have seen that. But I wanted to know whether he has the mentality for this higher stage, and he showed he did," Hughes said.

"He surprised me. He is a young man with no real experience in professional football and he showed skill and confidence out there in front of 47,000 people.

"He showed me he could make the step up and I was delighted with him. It's some big jump from the Conference, but he has certainly given me an extra option."

When Wales begin their World Cup qualifying campaign next September they will be without the suspended Giggs for the first two matches.

If Parry continues to improve at a pace that has so far been on the fast side of meteoric, then he could be filling that vacant wide left role against Azerbaijan and Northern Ireland.







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