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11th Sep 2023

Gareth Southgate confirms England approach failed for ‘bloody good’ Evan Ferguson

Patrick McCarry

“He’s a bloody good player.”

Evan Ferguson is locked in as an Ireland international, following his six senior appearances for his country, but speculation continues about a possible switch to England.

The 18-year-old has two competitive appearances for Ireland, and four friendly outings, meaning he has satisfied Fifa qualification rules.

Although he would qualify to play for England, through his mother, Ferguson’s international future lies with his native country.

That did not stop England, last year, looking into getting Ferguson to make the jump.

Southgate on Evan Ferguson and Erling Haaland

Following England’s 1-1 Euro 2024 qualifier draw against Ukraine, on Saturday, Gareth Southgate was quizzed about Scotland Under-21 forward, Elliot Anderson.

“We like him,” said Southgate of the 20-year-old Newcastle United forward, who pulled out of the Scotland senior squad, last week. Once he opened up on that, Southgate was asked if England had ever approached Evan Ferguson.

Evan FergusonEvan Ferguson of Republic of Ireland pictured before an international friendly against Latvia, at Aviva Stadium. (Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile)

“I think Ferguson’s played too many games at senior level, I think he’s got eight caps now,” he replied.

“I’m not exactly sure on whether he definitely can’t, but I think he’s made it very clear he feels he was born in Ireland.

“I think he’s a bloody good player. We have to respect him, I don’t think he’s given any inkling that would be any different. At the same time, we were looking at Haaland and wishing that he might have been available as well. But we’ve got a pretty good number nine and we’re very happy with him!”

Erling Haaland was born in Leeds [his father played for Leeds United, at the time] but made his Norway debut, at the age of 19, in 2019.

Ferguson missed Ireland’s recent games against France and the Netherlands due to injury, sparking off fresh yet inaccurate claims he could still switch international allegiance.

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