England manager Gareth Southgate has hailed the talents of Evan Ferguson and indicated he would be interested in trying to convince him to switch international allegiance from the Republic of Ireland. Ferguson has emerged as one of the brightest talents in the English game after breaking into Brighton’s first team last season, and he has caught the eye of Southgate with a string of impressive performances.
The 18-year-old has already scored four goals in the Premier League this season including a hat-trick in the 3-1 win over Newcastle, becoming the fourth-youngest player to score a treble in the top flight.
Comparisons have been made to Alan Shearer, Erling Haaland and Harry Kane, while Manchester City reportedly keeping a close eye on his progress at the Amex Stadium. Brighton value the towering striker at around £150million after speculation linked him with Tottenham earlier in the summer.
Ferguson is already a fully-fledged Republic of Ireland international, though, and Southgate isn’t hopeful of luring him to join their ranks after being met with some reluctance from the youngster.
“I think Ferguson’s played too many games at senior level, I think he’s got eight caps now,” the England boss told reporters.
“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!”
Several Premier League stars have made the switch from Ireland to represent England at senior international level in recent years, with Jack Grealish and Declan Rice the most high-profile examples. The pair both played for Ireland in youth categories but opted to switch to the country of their birth.
Newcastle midfielder Elliott Anderson, another youngster who caught the eye in the game on the South Coast, could be swayed after pulling out of the Scotland squad earlier this week. And Southgate confirmed he is on their radar, hinting they would be interested in luring him to the Three Lions camp.
“We like Anderson, we do like him. We think he’s a player that’s doing really well,” Southgate added. “Obviously, he was called into their squad earlier in the week and I don’t know what the position is at the moment.
“I saw he’s pulled out [of the squad]. Let’s see, that’s something that our organisation will be picking up. He’s definitely a player we like.”