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The manager of the Republic of Ireland, Stephen Kenny, has advised Evan Ferguson to perform without feeling pressured in order to further establish his growing reputation in the international arena.
The 19-year-old forward has recovered from a back injury and is now able to participate in the final Euro 2024 qualifier against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Saturday evening. He will have the opportunity to increase his record of three goals in eight games for his national team.
Ferguson’s presence at the Johan Cruyff Arena, where he played in Brighton’s 2-0 Europa League win over Ajax last week, will excite the travelling support, although Kenny is keen not to place too much weight on his young shoulders.
He advised to not have high expectations and to consider his age. He has achieved a lot by playing international football at 18.
“He recently celebrated his 19th birthday and has shown great skills in all aspects of the game, scoring multiple goals for Ireland.”
Last week, he was present in this stadium. This week, he has shown a very optimistic attitude.
He could have easily chosen to withdraw from the team or decided to do so since he was not able to play for his club last week.
“He has arrived, with a strong determination to do well and deserves much credit for that. We are eagerly anticipating it.”
There won’t be any stress on him tomorrow. We want him to have fun playing football and demonstrate his skills.
In September, Ferguson was unable to play in the 2-1 loss at home to the Dutch. This loss secured the Dutch team’s spot in the finals, along with France, if they won. Ferguson was sidelined due to a knee injury and could only watch as Cody Gakpo’s penalty and a goal from substitute Wout Weghorst turned the game around after Adam Idah’s initial goal.
This has been the narrative throughout a disappointing Group B journey where Ireland has achieved victories against Gibraltar both at home and away, but has been unable to earn any other points.
When questioned about the impact on morale, Preston midfielder Alan Browne stated, “It hasn’t affected us as much as you may imagine.”
Considering the situation and the challenges we encountered, the impact is not as severe. When attempting to compete head-to-head with those teams and coming close, we can find some merit and gain a sense of confidence from that.
“We make an effort to remain optimistic. I am not implying that we are content with losing games – we are certainly disappointed after every loss, even draws to some degree.”
“We review those games and examine them. Upon reviewing and recognizing the positives as well as the moments that resulted in loss, one may conclude that there is not a significant difference.”
“In the future campaigns, we hope to improve our performance and turn losses or draws into wins or draws. By accumulating points, we can potentially put ourselves in a stronger position.”