Ferguson nonchalant as ever after becoming Ireland's youngest scorer since Keane

ferguson nonchalant as ever after becoming ireland's youngest scorer since keane

Ireland’s Evan Ferguson goes off during last night’s match.

IT HAS been quite a couple of months for Evan Ferguson.

In December, he became the youngest Irish international goalscorer in Premier League history.

Since then, he has played regularly for a Brighton team enjoying a brilliant season under Roberto De Zerbi.

On Sunday, he scored twice and was named man of the match, as the Seagulls beat Grimsby to reach the FA Cup semi-finals.

And just three days on from that triumph, last night, he scored his first Ireland goal on his full international debut.

At 18 years and 154 days, Ferguson is now Ireland’s youngest scorer since Robbie Keane netted in 1998 against Malta.

Yet despite all the hoopla surrounding him afterwards, Ferguson seemed entirely unfussed, as if he was a postman being asked about delivering the post.

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On whether the prospect of becoming Ireland’s youngest goalscorer in almost 25 years had been on his mind, the Meath native replied: “I don’t think so. I think it’s just try and go on and think about the France game, and see if I can get another one.”

In the mixed zone afterwards, he was still clutching the number 19 jersey he donned on the special occasion of his full debut. He plans to give the momentous shirt to his mum and dad, who will likely get it framed.

“I don’t think there is a much better feeling than scoring at home with family and friends watching, there is no other way to describe it,” he added.

It was revealed by Stephen Kenny yesterday that Ferguson would start the match and the youngster said he had “tried to be in my best frame of mind for it” after being told the good news.

Ferguson seemed eager to impress early on and there were a couple of audacious long-range efforts from the teenager that failed to hit the target.

Overall though, he looked quite relaxed on his first start — linking up well with the other attackers, coming deep to make things happen, showing good hold-up play, and finding himself in the right place at the right time to make it 2-0.

“It was sort of similar to the positions I was picking up like when I play with Brighton, so it felt comfortable,” he explained.

In other ways though, the Irish experience was unlike anything he has been through at club level.

“It is obviously a different level, it means something different playing international football. Every game, there is more on the line for internationals so it just feels a bit different playing for your country.”

The one downside of the night was how easily Latvia got back into the game, drawing level just before half-time, with the hosts seemingly coasting at one point having stormed into a 2-0 lead.

It was not the first time of late that the Boys in Green had failed to protect a healthy advantage, but Ferguson insists it will be the last.

“We had a chat about it and know what happened and what went wrong, so I don’t think it will happen again.”

The talk then turned to the big opening Euros qualifier against France on Monday.

“They are all good players, you know what I mean?” he says of Didier Deschamps’ side. “So I think we just have to try our best and we are probably going to have to double up on whatever we can see. But I don’t think we should be too worried.”

This last line might seem unconvincing if delivered by certain footballers, but coming from someone as nonchalant and confident as Ferguson, you suspect he genuinely isn’t losing much sleep over the prospect of facing Kylian Mbappe and co. It is this commendable mindset that has already elevated him to incredible heights.

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