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'Evan Ferguson Has To Be The First Name On The Teamsheet For Monday'

'Evan Ferguson Has To Be The First Name On The Teamsheet For Monday'
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Both Ian Hate and Damien Delaney believe that Evan Ferguson should start for Ireland in Monday's European Championship qualifier against France.

Ferguson made his first senior Ireland start in Wednesday's 3-2 victory over Latvia, and scored his first goal.

"He's got the be one of the first names that's on the sheet come Monday," Harte told Virgin Media.

"He's the only one that's probably playing regular Premier League football, scoring lots of goals."

Delaney thought it was a "pretty good" performance by the teenager.

"He delivered the type of performance that he does for Brighton," said Delaney.


"He held the ball up really well, got his goal, his link up play was good. Playing in a two, which he doesn't do at Brighton...

"Obafemi is with him, so he's going to be the one at the top of the pitch looking to stretch in behind, which maybe opens up a role for [Evan Ferguson] to drop in and link it. He's more than capable of doing that. You don't want to see him doing it too often because you want to get him as close to the opposition goal as possible because he's that good.


"It was an accomplished performance for an 18-year-old, for any age centre forward. He didn't look out of place, didn't look overawed, didn't look nervous - why would he, he's playing week in, week out in the Premier League. He has to be the first name on the teamsheet for Monday night."


22 March 2023; Evan Ferguson of Republic of Ireland shoots to score his side's second goal during the international friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Latvia at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Delaney feels there will be changes in personnel and strategy come Monday's game.


"It will be interesting," he said.

"Tonight, we were playing against opposition where we had a large chunk of the ball, so our wing-backs are pushing on.

"Against France, you're going to give up 80 per cent of the ball, possibly, over the 90 minutes. You're going to get pinned in and have the gaps really nice [and tight], the midfield won't be too far away.


"For me, you pick a solid team, a diligent team, a team that will track runners, a team that will stay switched on, and a team that can offer something on the counter-attack.

"I think Matt Doherty will play, just for the fact that he's picked him nearly every game. He's [Stephen Kenny's] guy, he seems to have a thing for Matt - I don't have an issue with that.

"Does Seamus [Coleman] play? Does he move in and play on the right side of three centre-backs in that tight, narrow, low defensive block? I think I would play him for his experience alone. The game isn't going to be stretched like tonight where there's going to be huge areas of green grass where Seamus might get run by Mbappe, and be left in exposed positions.


"[At the back] I'd probably go with Matt, Seamus, John Egan, Dara O'Shea, maybe Nathan Collins, James [McClean] will probably play over Callum O'Dowda for that diligence that I'm talking about. Callum O'Dowda is more of a winger, so a game like tonight suited him. He'll probably go with two sixes in [Josh] Cullen and [Jayson] Molumby [in midfield]."

See Also: For Better Or Worse, The Evan Ferguson Hype Train Has Left The Station

ian harte damien delaney evan ferguson ireland france


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