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03rd Mar 2023

“It’s been a meteoric rise”- Stephen Kenny praises Evan Ferguson ahead of France clash

Rory Fleming

Stephen Kenny Evan Ferguson

The Ireland manager has been impressed by Ferguson’s development.

Stephen Kenny has praised Evan Ferguson ahead of the Republic of Ireland’s upcoming matches against Latvia and France.

The Ireland manager is delighted with the recent form of Ferguson given the team’s perennial struggle to fill the goalscoring void left by Robbie Keane seven years ago.

The 18-year-old made his international debut last November.

Ferguson celebrates scoring against Everton.

The centre-forward has made twelve appearances for Brighton so far this season and racked up an impressive goal involvement record of five goals and four assists.

Ferguson has firmly established himself in the Seagulls’ starting XI. Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi lauded the player following his winner at Stoke in the FA Cup earlier this week.,

“He is unique for us in terms of quality, in terms of characteristics. He knows very well the way to score,” the Italian coach said.

Ireland manager Kenny has also praised the former Bohemians striker, who as recently as September was lining out in Under 21 fixtures.

“It’s been a meteoric rise for Evan,” Kenny told RTÉ Sport.

Ferguson comes on for his Ireland debut against Norway.

The Ireland manager has been a strong proponent of promoting youth during his three-year stint as Ireland manager. Kenny has given such as Gavin Bazunu, Nathan Collins and Jayson Molumby their starts at senior international level before their club careers had really begun to take off.

Ferguson’s alternative route to the senior side, however, has impressed the former League of Ireland-winning manager.

“Evan has not been really like that because he’s done it just himself, coming through the ranks, going straight to the Premier League and scoring goals,” Kenny said.

“He missed out on key periods in the international window because of Covid. The Under-19s was cancelled in that period, he’s played a few games with the Under-21s and then come into our squad”, said Kenny.

“At his club, he’s done really well, he does the simple things well and he obviously has the ability to score goals”.

Ferguson in action against Liverpool.

Kenny, however, didn’t give too much away about who he planned to start up top in Ireland’s opening Euro 2024 qualifier against the 2018 World Cup champions

“He (Ferguson) gives us another option and now there’s competition for places and that’s what we want”.

It will be interesting to see who the Ireland manager selects to lead the Irish attack. In addition to Ferguson, Kenny can also call upon strikers such as the in-form Michael Obafemi, Preston’s Troy Parrott and the always-reliable Chiedozie Ogbene.

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