John O’Shea supports the idea that young player, Evan Ferguson, will overcome his lack of goals after missing a penalty.

John O'Shea supports the idea that young player, Evan Ferguson, will overcome his lack of goals after missing a penalty.

Interim Republic of Ireland boss John O’Shea backed Evan Ferguson to end his goal drought after seeing the Brighton teenager miss a penalty during Saturday’s 0-0 friendly draw with Belgium.

The 19-year-old forward missed a penalty in the first half against Matz Sels at the Aviva Stadium, continuing his goalless streak of 21 games for both his club and country since the end of November.

When questioned about Ferguson’s lack of goals, O’Shea stated that it’s something common in the game. He believes that in the future, there may be another instance where he goes a few months without scoring, which is not unusual for top-level strikers.

Once he starts scoring goals again, he will continue to do so.

Ferguson had a major opportunity 24 minutes into the match after his teammate, Arthur Vermeeren, was deemed to have handled the ball.

Unfortunately, Ferguson lost his footing while trying to reach the ball, causing Sels to block his poorly hit attempt with his legs.

O’Shea expressed that the situation was unfortunate and mentioned that Ev had a slight slip before hitting the ball, which may have affected him. However, he commended the young player for bravely stepping up and not letting it hinder his performance.

Once he starts scoring goals again, he will be on a streak once again.


John O’Shea in Evan Ferguson mode

“He aggressively collided with the center-backs once more, regaining his confidence. It was just one of those unfortunate moments. In the second half, he found himself in a great position as well.”

O’Shea took control of the initial friendly against Switzerland, with a second one scheduled for Tuesday in Dublin. He mixed in past and present players, bringing back old teammates Seamus Coleman and Robbie Brady, and giving a first appearance to Blackburn forward Sammie Szmodics.

Not surprisingly, he returned to his usual ways by emphasizing the importance of his team being tough to defeat. This came after three and a half years of potential but lack of accomplishments under former coach Stephen Kenny, who was replaced in November.

Ireland’s team, led by O’Shea, demonstrated a strong and consistent performance during his 118 appearances as an international player. They relied heavily on Ferguson’s physical abilities and Ogbene’s speed to create scoring opportunities, but were unable to score against keeper Sels despite their efforts.

O’Shea explained that despite Belgium’s possession, the team was not too concerned as they knew they had the ability to counterattack and cause damage.

It is frustrating that we were not able to take advantage of the opportunities presented in the game. This could have given us an even greater chance to dominate against Belgium.

However, playing against Belgium in Dublin, achieving a clean sheet would be satisfactory, although there is also slight disappointment in the end.

Domenico Tedesco, the opposing counterpart, was underwhelmed with his observations.

When questioned for his assessment, the manager of Belgium stated: “It was a somewhat uneventful match, not a good one. I believe that both teams struggled with a slow pace and encountered numerous challenges in constructing their plays. The passes were sluggish and lacked precision. That is my overall evaluation.”

Towards the conclusion, it resembled a casual summer sporting event.