England head coach Gareth Southgate has, on Sunday, spoken out over the situation of Republic of Ireland striker Evan Ferguson.
For those who may have missed it, the subject of hitman Ferguson’s future at international level came back to the fore in a major way earlier this week.
This came amid suggestions that the Brighton & Hove Albion talent, fresh off a Premier League hat-trick against Newcastle United, was reconsidering declaring for England.
After pulling out of the Republic of Ireland’s latest squad, murmurs spread like wildfire online that, owing to a loophole in FIFA’s regulations, Ferguson could still switch allegiances to the Three Lions, for whom he would be eligible to line out through his mother.
In reality, though, Ferguson is injured, and has in fact now made too many senior appearances for Ireland to declare elsewhere.
Nevertheless, owing to the widespread chatter surrounding the situation, the subject of the 18-year-old’s international future was on Sunday put to the aforementioned Gareth Southgate once more.
And England’s boss went on to hint that though he would perhaps pursue Ferguson if the situation was different, the attacker himself appears fully committed to the cause with Ireland:
“I think he’s played too many games at senior level, I think he’s got eight caps now,” Southgate began. “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 and he’s represented them and I would 100 per cent [support that].
“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.”