The Republic of Ireland striker Evan Ferguson scored on his first international start in a 3-2 win over Latvia. Ferguson scored twice in his side’s FA Cup win over Grimsby to earn a semi-final meeting with Manchester United at Wembley, and he is now ready to take on the world stage. On an eventful night in Dublin, the 18-year-old, who has six goals in his past 13 outings for Brighton, needed only 17 minutes to start his account. Supporters of the Republic of Ireland will be hoping that this is just the beginning of a bright international career.
Every talented Irish striker has the misfortune of being compared to the exceptional skill of 17-year-old Robbie Keane, who went on to score 68 goals for his country in 146 games after debuting in October 1998. Ferguson’s incisive finish against Latvia, which capped an ambitious all-around performance in the 73 minutes he was given, only helped to highlight why the rest of the home nations are green with envy. In the same week that France’s new captain, Kylian Mbappe, was controversially appointed, Ireland’s new talisman is set to face Europe’s golden boy at the Aviva Stadium on Monday.
Evan Ferguson, Ireland’s Kylian Mbappe, is living in exciting times. He was largely unknown in the Premier League at the time, having played three minutes against Norway. He subsequently got a few more minutes against Malta a few days later, but he now needs to start. Stephen Kenny claims that because this man has become our talisman, he must devise strategies for getting the most out of him.
The players will have to learn how to play with Ferguson, who is a true talent. Gary Lineker stated in a tweet that he was looking at a true center-forward who is more than simply a goalscorer but also a No 10 in possession. This young man has it all, and with so much anticipation surrounding him, it’s obvious why Kenny is wrapping his arm around him to ensure he delivers.
There is a risk that we are putting too much responsibility on his shoulders, but there is no doubt that he is a fantastic talent. Ireland has lacked a strong celebrity name in recent years, dating back to the days of Robbie Keane and Roy Keane. Manchester United and Liverpool used to have several Irish players, but that hasn’t happened in recent years. Ferguson is a player who is building a name for himself in the Premier League, which Irish players haven’t done in recent years, which is why there is so much excitement among supporters.
Caoimhin Kelleher, the goalkeeper, launched the 17th-minute play that led to Doherty’s international debut, with Nathan Collins, Jayson Molumby, and Smallbone combining to set up the cross. Michael Obafemi recycled his ball beyond the far post, and Ferguson joyously punched it past Pavels Steinbors with the help of a deflection from defender Antonijs Cernomordijs.
“There is no better feeling than scoring at home in front of your family. The Irish people, the fans, strive to encourage new players to get in and perform their best,” Ferguson said after scoring against Latvia. “Stephen [Kenny] will put together a team that will offer us the best opportunity of defeating France. Hopefully, I’ll receive the call. He simply advised me to go out and enjoy myself. He told me not to do anything different from what I do at home and to simply soak it all in. At the end of the day, it’s just a football game. I’ve been playing it for years; it’s simply another game.”
“It’s never easy to deal with players. Injuries can be devastating for young sportsmen. The demands in the leagues they play in are severe, and this does happen occasionally,” head coach Stephen Kenny said. “What we now have is a large number of players who have come through, which is unprecedented in our history. This has increased the depth of our team. Evan, this is his debut appearance, and he has a goal. Something cannot be predicted in the future. He’s still new to the game, and he’s taking everything in stride.”
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