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09th Feb 2022

Festy Ebosele stakes claim for Ireland squad with stunning Derby performance

Luke Jennings

“He has got so much.”

Wayne Rooney heaped the praise on Ireland Under-21 international Festy Ebosele after his starring role in Derby County’s win over Hull City.

Ebosele scored a goal and recorded an assist in the 3-1 victory on Tuesday night. His performance caught the eye of his manager and could also lead to a senior international call-up for Ireland.

Festy Ebosele Ireland

Ireland under 21-star Festy Ebosele catches Rooney’s eye.

“He has got so much,” Rooney said about Ebosele.

“He has still, obviously, got a lot more to learn and a lot of improvement to make but you can see his development since the start of the season.

“Not just technically – he is raw and quick and can beat a player – but his fitness levels have improved massively as well. It is a credit to how he has been training.”

Festy Ebosele.

Ebosele, 19, has been strongly linked with a move to Serie A side Udinese following his impressive performances for the Rams this season.

He will, however, be a key part of Rooney’s team until the end of the season at least as they seek to avoid the drop into League One.

Ebosele, who is from Enniscorthy in Wexford, joined Derby from Bray Wanderers in 2018.

He can play at right-back and on the right-wing and appears to have staked a claim to be in Stephen Kenny’s Ireland squad for the March friendlies against Belgium and Lithuania.

Rooney on Derby’s win.

The win leaves Derby four points from safety in the Championship and gives them a fighting chance of remaining in the division despite a 21-point deduction.

Derby currently sit 23rd in the table with 18 points,  four points from safety and Reading in 21st spot.

Rooney was pleased with his team’s efforts as the Rams hope to avoid the drop.

“I’m really happy and I thought the performance was very good. I actually didn’t feel we started that well in the first 10 minutes, maybe, but then after that, we grew into it.”

“We felt we could cause them problems down the sides and we did that,” Rooney said.

“We asked Festy Ebosele to stay out wide and to try and isolate them and get into one-on-one situations; we did that brilliantly.”

“With a bit more care with the final cross and final pass we could have got a few more goals, but I thought it was a very good performance overall.”


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