Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Shane urges Ryan and Rory to join seniors

Flourishing youngster: Shane Ferguson has found international football beneficial to his club career

Shane Ferguson has called on Ryan McLaughlin and Rory Donnelly to follow his example and grasp the chance of playing international football with Northern Ireland.

Full-back McLaughlin and striker Donnelly are plying their trade at Liverpool and Swansea respectively, but both are restricted to reserve team outings at best as they look to cut a path through multi-million pound squads.

Despite that, they have each been involved in senior Northern Ireland squads under Michael O'Neill and it is highly likely both would have full caps by now had they made themselves available.

Instead, McLaughlin has asked not to be considered while he concentrates on life at Anfield, while Donnelly has been in and out of the Under-21s.

In the background is the prospect of switching allegiance to the Republic of Ireland, but Ferguson – who was once thought to be at risk of a similar move – has advised the pair to join him.

He has flourished for Northern Ireland at a time when his club situation has been less stable – with successive loans to Birmingham from parent club Newcastle.

"I know Ryan and Rory very well, I played Under-21s with them and they'd be great additions to the squad," he said.

"I played my first senior game for Northern Ireland before I'd played for Newcastle and it was good for me.

"If they do decide to play for Northern Ireland it would be great for them and great for us.

"International football gives you a lot of opportunities with a lot of people watching.

"If you're performing well on the international stage then people will be likely looking at you for club football as well.

"They're both good lads and we'd welcome any new players in. I would say to them that it's a good opportunity if they play for Northern Ireland."

Like the rest of his team-mates, Ferguson is hoping to for a positive result against Israel tomorrow following a run of three consecutive defeats.

"We're frustrated with results, but personally I've done okay in the campaign and it's been a really good experience to be involved. Now we just have to try and dig out a good result against Israel if can," he added.

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