Some rather strange news this morning that Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington is unable to get in touch with Newcastle United’s impressive defender/winger Shane Ferguson, before tonight’s European 2012 qualifier against Estonia.
Shane Ferguson – gone missing?
Our immediate question would be, why not?
But let’s hear what Nigel has to say first:
“I’ve been trying for the last 36 to 48 hours to get in contact with the boy to let him know I’d like to draft him into the squad.”
“The club has been notified and we’ve had the medical records sent back to us, as we always do with players to see if there are any problems, but we’ve had no contact.”
“It beggars belief when you read in the press that people want to represent their country and when you give them the opportunity to do so there’s no willingness, or manners, to say ‘no, I don’t want to be involved’, or ‘yes, I’m coming’,”
“I can only do what I’ve done. People at the Irish Football Association have done what they do and we can’t do any more. We can’t put hands on and literally drag people in. I think it’s a great honor to represent your country, but I can’t do any more.”
We don’t know what the problem is and we shouldn’t jump to conclusions.
But of course there was some news earlier this year that Shane may be considering playing for Irleand, rather than Northern Ireland, but we have no idea if this news is related to that.
But it seems rather unprofessional to us that Nigel Worthington should asusme that is the case, and to talk to the press about Shane Ferguson and put him in a bad light, without ever talking to the player himself.
It should have been kept quiet and handled behind closed doors, and the Irish FA should surely be able to contact their players.
But of course things can get serious on this front, becasue after all it’s about your country and representing your country, so emotions can get high very quickly.
And last August, this is what the Irish FA’s player mentor Gerry Armstrong, had said about the Newcastle 20 year-old:
“With regards to Shane there isn’t a problem.” “A lot of people speculated that he was heading south, and the FAI wanted him.”
“But Shane is very content and happy with how things are.” “He has never had any doubt over who he wants to play with.” “And both me and Steve Beaglehole – the Under 21 boss – have spoken to the lad and everyone is happy.”
Well, it looks now that everyone is not happy.
Shane has been capped once for Northern Ireland so far, when he was just 17 years old against Italy in a friendly, but he is still eligible to play for Ireland, until he plays a competitive game for Northern Ireland.
We don’t want to be too hard on manager Nigel Worthington, but his comments are rather insensitive, and he should have at least talked to Shane first.
That’s our view, and of course yes, we are on the side of a Newcastle player, surprising as though that may seem.