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Brighton talent Evan Ferguson has dismissed the growing excitement around him after bagging his first goal for the Republic of Ireland.
The striker found the back of the net in Wednesday’s 3-2 home win over Latvia in a friendly in Dublin, on what was his first start for his country.
He was labelled a “superstar” after scoring just 17 minutes into the match, not long after compatriot Callum O’Dowda also scored his first Ireland goal.
Brighton talent unfazed by ‘superstar’ tag
Ferguson’s international heroics come amid a fine campaign for the striker at his club Brighton, where he has scored seven goals in all competitions.
But at just 18, the forward has not had a second to sit back and think about his superb achievements, with Brighton currently fighting for a European spot.
“It doesn’t really bother me,” said Ferguson, as quoted by BBC Sport NI. “It’s just a game of football. It’s all talk with people getting excited.
“It’s just gone so quick. There’s no break so there is no time to sit back and think about what I am doing. It’s just week by week, there is another thing going or another game. It’s just trying to concentrate on the next.”
Scoring ‘always on my mind’
Like any good striker, scoring goals is of the utmost importance to Ferguson. His efforts in the final third have helped Brighton to seventh place in the Premier League table.
The Seagulls are above Graham Potter’s Chelsea and level with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, and sit just seven points off the top four. Moreover, Roberto De Zerbi’s men have a few games in hand over many clubs around them in the table.
Ferguson has been handed a key role under the Italian this season, keeping the likes of Danny Welbeck and Deniz Undav out of the starting XI more often than not.
Discussing his efforts for Ireland in yesterday’s victory, Ferguson said: “I think it was something similar to do back with Brighton. It’s a similar role so I am comfortable with it.
“I think as a striker, it’s always on my mind, ‘I want to get a goal’. It was nice to get that goal. It was more instinct, just try to stay alive and hopefully the ball bounces to you.”
Brighton striker set to start v France
It was a huge moment for the teenager, who joined Brighton from League of Ireland club Bohemians in 2021. But while the goal will live long in his memory, a huge challenge awaits the striker and his national teammates when they welcome France to Dublin on Monday for their opening Euro 2024 qualifying match.
It would be a harsh decision to drop the teenager for the tricky test, but Ferguson is prepared for every scenario, and says the ultimate decision lies with manager Stephen Kenny.
“Hopefully, we’ll see,” Ferguson said regarding a potential start. “At the end of the day it is his choice. He is going to pick whoever he thinks is right so we will have to wait and see.
“I think you have to enjoy the bigger games and we will see where we are at as a squad and individuals, to see how we do.”
The first of many? 👀#COYBIG | #WeAreOne | #IRLLAT pic.twitter.com/iYaNJesfcu
— Ireland Football ⚽️🇮🇪 (@IrelandFootball) March 22, 2023