‘I can tell you now, it’s a no’ – Evan Ferguson gives frank answer when asked if he ever considered playing for England

Ireland striker Evan Ferguson

Ireland striker Evan Ferguson has said there was never any chance he would have considered playing international football with England.

The 18-year-old has made a massive impact in his debut season in the Premier League and has scored 10 goals in 14 starts in all competitions this term.

Manchester United were just one club genuinely interested in the Meath native before he signed a contract extension with Brighton last month.

Ferguson, whose mother is from England, made his competitive debut with Ireland in the 1-0 defeat to France at the Aviva in March and, speaking to Sky Sports, he insisted there was only ever one country he would play for.

"Obviously, my Mam's English, so that's where it probably comes in," said Ferguson.

"I've seen a few saying 'Oh, will he? Will he?' I can tell you now, it's a no."

When it was mentioned that his father Barry – a former League of Ireland player – would not have been happy if he did choose England, Ferguson replied: "I wouldn't be allowed back!"

Roberto de Zerbi hailed Evan Ferguson for playing with a maturity beyond his years as Brighton sealed European football for the first time in the club’s history on Sunday.

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Ferguson bagged a brace before half-time to propel his club to a comfortable success over relegated Southampton.

It cemented Brighton’s hold on sixth position in the table, but the weekend’s results means they can no finish no worse than seventh which means that Europa Conference League football is already in the bag. A point from Wednesday’s game in hand against Man City would wrap up sixth and a Europa League spot.

Ferguson’s goals put him into double figures in all competitions this term, a significant landmark for the teenager.

He would have become the third youngest hat-trick goalscorer in Premier League history after Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler if he’s added to his first half exploits but de Zerbi opted to replace the ex-St Kevin’s and Bohemians youngster with 25 minutes remaining.

Ferguson received a huge ovation and his form is a major boost for Ireland with next month’s trip to Greece in mind. Stephen Kenny will just be hoping that the City game and Sunday’s trip to face Aston Villa pass by without incident.

“Ferguson’s improvement has been incredible,” said De Zerbi.

"He’s playing like an old player but he is only 18. There is a good dressing room with the mentality to help all our younger players.”