Two Ireland stars included in Premier League's 'young English XI' 2 months ago

Two Ireland stars included in Premier League's 'young English XI'

Both are eligible to play for England but have played a combined 36 games, underage and senior, for Ireland.

Before he was literally kicked out of Brighton's FA Cup win over Liverpool, Ireland star Evan Ferguson was attracting another sort of close attention.

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The 18-year-old was the subject of two separate Times articles reflecting on the fact that he could yet play for England in international football. Ferguson has played U15, U17 and U21 football for his country of birth and played two senior friendlies, against Malta and Norway, last November. He is not locked in with Ireland, though, until he plays competitive minutes for them.

Ferguson looks as committed as can be to playing many years for Ireland but he does qualify for England through his mother.

On the same weekend, The Daily Mail included both Ferguson and Wolves midfielder Joe Hodge in 'a young English XI' of stand-out prospects in the Premier League.

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Ireland Joe Hodge of Republic of Ireland before the UEFA European U21 Championship play-off second leg against Israel. (Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile)

Breakthrough seasons for Ferguson and Hodge

The pair are included in an XI that includes Chelsea defender Lewis Hall, his clubmate Carney Chukwuemeka, and Fabio Carvalho of Liverpool. The piece notes that Carvalho, who joined Liverpool from Fulham in the summer, could play for England or Portugal, who he has played U21 level with.

The article notes that Ferguson would also be secured by Stephen Kenny's side if he were to play a third time for the men in green. Author Will Pickworth states:

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'Having grown up in Ireland and already won two caps for the national team, the likelihood of Evan Ferguson playing for England is perhaps minimal.

'He looks one hell of a talent... Ferguson is yet another relative unknown to find their way into the Brighton first team, and Ireland will be desperate to tie him down in what would be a huge boost to their future prospects at international level.'

On Hodge, who criss-crossed between England and Ireland underage teams during his academy years, the article notes, 'Despite being a Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, Joe Hodge qualifies for England and has also represented the Three Lions at youth level.'

Hodge was born in Manchester and spent his youth career with Man City. He was sent on loan to Derry City before moving on from the club and joining Wolves, with whom he has made eight senior appearances for, so far, this season.

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