Shane Ferguson answers the call for Euro tests
Doubts surrounding Shane Ferguson's international future lifted last night after he was named in the Northern Ireland Under-21 squad for next week's European Championship qualifier in Serbia.
There had been fears that the Newcastle United youngster was going to add his name to an ever-growing list of players who have switched their allegiance to the Republic of Ireland after winning caps at various levels for Northern Ireland.
Senior boss Nigel Worthington had wanted to call the Londonderry-born 20-year-old into his squad earlier this year, but revealed that he and other individuals from the Irish FA had been unable to contact the player.
Now, however, it looks very much like his return to the Under-21 squad means that Ferguson - who won a senior cap in a friendly against Italy two years ago - is instead going to stick with Northern Ireland.
Ferguson has recovered from a pre-season injury and was an unused substitute in Newcastle United's Carling Cup victory over Scunthorpe on Thursday night.
He is now in the frame to make a first start of the season at home to Fulham tomorrow.
Five others players with senior experience - Carl Winchester, Oliver Norwood, Josh Carson, Josh Magennis and Liam Boyce - have been named by Steve Beaglehole for the trip to Serbia and the home game with Denmark the following Tuesday.
squad: Conor Devlin (Unattached), Wayne Drummond (Unattached), Joe Dudgeon (Hull City), Rory McKeown (Kilmarnock), Conor McLaughlin (Preston North End), Seanan Clucas (Preston North End), Sean McCashin (Glenn Hoddle Academy), Carl Winchester (Oldham Athletic), Chris Ramsey (Portadown), Oliver Norwood (Scunthorpe United), Josh Carson (Ipswich Town), Paddy McLaughlin (York City), Jonathan Breeze (Wigan Athletic), Shane Ferguson (Newcastle United), Billy Kee (Burton Albion), William Grigg (Walsall), Josh Magennis (Aberdeen), Liam Boyce (Werder Bremen).