When Talksport released a clip of its interview with Evan Ferguson ten days ago, Irish people quickly mobilised online.
“What’s the reason that you’re so committed to Ireland?” the interviewer asked, as if he was quizzing somebody on a controversial diet where they had declared that from now on they would only be eating onions.
“Because I’m Irish,” Ferguson replied as outrage took over the internet when word spread that “the Brits were at it again”.
On Saturday night in Amsterdam, Ferguson lasted 54 minutes for Ireland before being substituted because of a tight hamstring. In those 54 minutes he had 15 touches of the ball, fewer than any other Irish player. For comparison, Wout Weghorst had 38. Injury may have restricted Ferguson’s involvement to a certain degree on Saturday night, but against Greece in Athens, he had only 19 touches.
Watching Ferguson play for Ireland, it has been easy to contrast the life he leads in the masterful construction that is Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton (even if it has stalled lately) with the mere existence he experiences when he has lined out for Ireland.
This contrast may become even more pronounced as Ferguson’s career progresses. This is nothing new. Great Irish players from Giles to Brady to Keane have had to contend with a profound difference between what they experience at their clubs and what they have to adapt to for their country.
The scars from the loss of Jack Grealish and Declan Rice led many to become jittery as they became aware of Ferguson’s English mother which made him eligible for England. There was nothing to fear on that front, but, as Stephen Kenny departs, it is tempting to ask what kind of Ireland Ferguson will come of age in?
We have celebrated Ferguson’s accident ofRead on irishexaminer.com