Evan Ferguson: Can Brighton footballer play for England? Irish and English heritage explained, career highlights

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Brighton striker Evan Ferguson scored twice this weekend against Grimsby

18-year-old Evan Ferguson is quickly becoming a Premier League sensation after he scored two goals in Brighton’s 5-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over Grimsby. The Seagulls flew through their last-eight fixture and will now prepare to take on Manchester United in the semi-final of the FA Cup.

Ferguson is now set to make his first senior start for the Republic of Ireland against Latvia on Wednesday evening. He is also in contention to come up against the World Cup runners-up on Monday as Ireland continue their Euros 2024 qualifying.

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Speaking ahead of the qualifiers, Ferguson’s head coach Stephen Kenny has said: “His career is in its infancy. He’s had a great start to his Premier League career and is scoring some goals in the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.

“We have known about Evan for a few years now, coming through the system in Ireland with Bohemians and coming through the underage international teams. At 18 years of age now, he’s showing he is ready to come into the team and he will make his first start tomorrow in the game.”

However, if he so wished, the rising star could also qualify to play for England. Here’s all you need to know about the young starlet...

Can Evan Ferguson play for England?

Ferguson would be eligible to play for England through his mother’s heritage. This, of course, has been worrying news for many Irish fans, however the youngster has given no indication that he wishes to switch his allegiances overseas. The rules on switching nations are relatively vague. Declan Rice, for example, played three times for Ireland in friendlies before deciding he wanted to play for England.

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Ferguson in action against Crystal Palace in March 2023Ferguson in action against Crystal Palace in March 2023
Ferguson in action against Crystal Palace in March 2023 | Getty Images

Ferguson was born in Bettystown in County Meath and has played for the Ireland U15, U17 and U21 squads. The 18-year-old began playing with the well renowned Dublin schoolboy club St Kevin’s boys before moving on to the youth section of League of Ireland club Bohemians where he would then go on to feature in the National underage leagues.

In December 2020, Ferguson scored in his last game at underage level for the club as his side won the League of Ireland U17 Division. His senior debut came in July 2019 for Bohemians and he was just 14 years of age, making him the youngest ever player at senior level for his club.

Evan Ferguson at Brighton

In January 2021, Brighton beat Liverpool to the signing of Evan Ferguson and he made his first team debut in August that year, replacing Enock Mwepu in the 81st minute of an EFL Cup second round match. He has featured for Brighton’s U23 squad and made his second appearance of the season for the senior side in January 2022.

His debut in the Premier League came in February 2022 where he came on as a substitute in a 3-0 home loss against Burnley. Ferguson has since gone on to make 11 Premier League appearances and in his 16 matches overall, he has scored seven goals and added three assists.

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When are Ireland and England playing?

Ireland will take on Latvia in an international friendly later today at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The match will kick-off at 7.45pm GMT. England will then take on Italy in Naples tomorrow, Thursday 23 March, and they will also have a 7.45pm kick-off (8.45 pm local time).

Ireland’s match will be available to watch and stream through ViaPlay while England’s fixture can be seen on Channel 4 and will be available for streaming on All4.

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