No England conspiracy after injured Evan Ferguson ruled out of Euro 2024 qualifiers against France and Holland

In-form striker will miss the Republic of Ireland qualifiers this week
Andy Watters

REPUBLIC of Ireland striker Evan Ferguson has been ruled out of the two UEFA EURO 2024 qualifiers against France (Thursday) and the Netherlands (Sunday).

The news is obviously a massive setback for Republic boss Stephen Kenny and his team.

Ferguson scored a superb hat-trick against Newcastle United for the Seagulls last Saturday and was regarded as central to Ireland's prospects in Paris and against the Dutch at the Aviva.

The Brighton and Hove Albion forward sustained a knee injury in the 3-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday.

Ferguson reported for international duty on Sunday but after assessment from the Ireland medical team, Ferguson has been ruled out of both fixtures. 

Conspiracy theories did the rounds on social media suggesting that Ferguson - whose mother is English - might have been approached to play for Gareth Southgate's side.

However, even if the player was receptive to the switch (which has never seemed likely) he has already played six times for the Republic - three competitive games and three friendlies. 

Fifa rules state that a player can only switch allegiance if he has played "no more" than three matches at 'A' international level for their current association whether in an "official competition or non-official competition".

Since Ferguson has played six times (scoring twice) since he made his senior debut in November last year, a switch to England cannot happen. 

The rest of the squad will travel to Paris later today ahead of the match against France on Thursday, September 7.

Stephen Kenny’s team have three points from their first three matches in Group B and need a positive result in Paris on Thursday and against the Dutch in Dublin next week to keep alive realistic hopes of reaching next summer’s finals.

The manager has Norwich’s Adam Idah, Preston’s Will Keane, Hull’s Aaron Connolly and Chiedozie Ogbene of Luton available as his other forward options.