BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION TEENAGER Andrew Moran believes that Evan Ferguson's sudden emergence in English football could be an inspiration for Ireland's younger players going forward.
Ferguson (18) has scored seven goals for Brighton this season and has been given the nod to lead the Republic of Ireland against Latvia tonight.
Moran, who has also made his debut for Brighton is a year older than Ferguson is with the Ireland U21 camp ahead of the Iceland friendly on Sunday.
Ferguson and Moran both made their debut an EFL Cup win against Cardiff City in August 2021.
Both players have had very different careers since then, with Moran appearing largely for the Brighton U23s this season.
Speaking to the Irish Independent this week Moran claimed he always knew Ferguson would excel at senior level
Moran simply said in the interview, “He’s a freak."
“It’s so good for us. Evan is flying at club level. It shows if you’re doing the right thing, you will get chances. It’s really good for us to hear stories like that."
“How quick it has happened is probably surprising, but everyone can see how talented he is. He’s such a good player, so good and for his age so physically able. I always knew he would be a joke.
“Against Cardiff, I came on at 68 minutes and Evan came on at 81 minutes. I beat him to it (senior debut). He was a year younger, but we won’t mention that.
“Looking at Evan, I can’t imagine being older than him, it’s mad. Even at Brighton, it’s the same thing. He’s impressing in training, and we have a manager (Roberto De Zerbi) where he doesn’t really care about age, if you are good enough he will play you. It’s definitely inspiring.”
Moran will now be hoping for his first start against Iceland in Turners Cross this weekend.
The former Bray Wanderers youngster has featured twice for Ireland's u21s as a substitute. He made his Ireland under-21 debut in a 1–1 draw with Luxembourg at the Stade Jos Nosbaum in 2021 and played for a minute in the reverse fixture last August.
The 19-year-old went onto to say that the new group of Ireland u21s will do their best to make it to the finals in Slovakia in 2025
The Republic of Ireland Under-21s will face Italy, Norway, Türkiye, Latvia and San Marino in Group A of the 2025 UEFA European U21 Championship qualifiers.
“It’s a really exciting group so hopefully we can do something really good. There are a lot of new faces but lads like Joe Hodge too who would have played in that Israel (play-off) game, players with experience like that. I think we have a good blend.
“I think we are a good team so why not try and qualify. I know we have never done it before, but we’ll give it a good go.”
Republic of Ireland Under-21s Squad
Goalkeepers: Tiernan Brooks (Notts County), Jimmy Corcoran (Cork City), Josh Keeley (Tottenham Hotspur)
Defenders: Tayo Adaramola (Crystal Palace), Festy Ebosele (Udinese), James Furlong (Motherwell, on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion), Anselmo Garcia MacNulty (NAC Breda, on loan from Wolfsburg), Connor O’Riordan (Crewe Alexandra), Sean Roughan (Lincoln City)
Midfielders: Cian Hayes (Fleetwood Town), Matt Healy (Cork City, on loan from Ipswich Town), Joe Hodge (Wolves), Bosun Lawal (Celtic), Killian Phillips (Shrewsbury Town, on loan from Crystal Palace)
Forwards: Sinclair Armstrong (QPR), Tom Cannon (Preston North End, on loan from Everton), Johnny Kenny (Shamrock Rovers, on loan from Celtic), Andrew Moran (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ollie O’Neill (Derry City, on loan from Fulham), Armstrong Okoflex (West Ham United)
International Friendly Fixture
Sunday, March 26 | Ireland U21 v Iceland U21, Turner’s Cross, Cork, KO 4pm (live on LOITV)