Fringe player focus – Shane Ferguson

Fergie fit for the future?
Encouraged by my first foray in to the blog writers’ abyss, I have been encouraged by the reaction and discussion following the Danny Guthrie topic.

There were some mixed feelings towards him; however the general consensus at the time of writing this article is that 63% of our readers who voted feel that he should remain with our squad over the coming years.

Today we take a look at young Northern Ireland international Shane Ferguson. Born in County Derry, he was a keen sportsman from a young age and played for his hometown in both football and Gaelic football.  

At 5’11’’ he is taller than you would think, but only 10 stones 7 lbs he is not the bulkiest of guys for somebody of his height and as a result he has a tendency to be pushed off the ball a bit easily. We were told he was put on a weight training programme over the summer in an effort to build up his strength and stamina but injury at the start of the season has ensured we did not see the results.

At 20 years old, he still has time ahead of him. With pace and skill in abundance he is a real talent.  A product of our increasingly impressive youth academy, Ferguson made quite an impression in the 2008-2009 season with the reserves. That season he even managed a goal against the Mackems. Oddly, he made his full international debut before he had even made an appearance for our senior side! This was in June 2009 s a 79th minute sub during a 3-0 loss to Italy in Pisa.

It was not long until he graced the famous black and white stripes for real though. He made his full debut by starting at left back against Accrington Stanley in a Carling Cup game in August 2010. He played very well in that 3-2 win and notably, did not concede a single foul. That season he would go on to make 9 first team appearances, including 2 starts against Chelsea and appearing in the senior match day squad no less than 18 times. It is fair to say he is valued by our management. That year also saw him earn a new five year contract.

If he were fit at the beginning of this season, I think we would have seen him fighting Ryan Taylor for that left back spot. By the time he got back to fitness, Ryan had that spot nailed down. Despite this, Ferguson still found himself starting the Carling Cup win against Forest and was included in the squads for Scunthorpe and Fulham prior to this.

Since then Davide Santon has recovered from his own layoff and Ferguson has found himself down the pecking order. When he does play however, us fans are treated to an attack minded young footballer who appears as comfortable bombing down the wing getting crosses in as he does sticking to defensive duties. He certainly has a trick or two, has a bit of pace and has shown early signs of having a decent cross on him.

Indeed he seems a real prospect, but ladies and gents – I’m concerned for our little full back flier! Some would argue he would make a better winger than full back. With Guti signing a new deal and Marveaux coming on strong, when would he game a game in that position? Furthermore, Ryan Taylor has done a decent job at left back despite the odd mistake. With Italian International Santon looking very likely to claim that spot for himself in the coming weeks, where does this leave young Shane?

Do we think he should be trained up to stand in for Santon, or would he be better served going on a season’s loan to build up his experience? If his fitness and weights programme has paid off then he could be a real player, but last season I looked at him run out of steam over and over again as if he just could not manage to maintain his high standards any longer than 70 minutes.

If he can’t overcome this, will he ever realise his obvious potential? Do we think he will ever be good enough to challenge the likes of Santon, Guti or Marveaux for a first team place?

On a sidenote – there is a bit of a storm brewing regarding his International future. He has been called up to the senior side, but the management cannot get hold of him. This is not the first time either and it seems Nigel Worthington has sent a bit of a volley his way: ‘I’ve been trying for the last 36-48 hours to get in contact with the boy to let him know I’d like to draft him into the squad,’ said the manager. His 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.’

His 1 appearance for the Northern Irish was a friendly appearance, so technically he is still eligible to play for the Republic. It would seem this may well be his preferred option.

He goes on;‘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.”The only time I’ve seen Shane is at Milk Cups and sometimes you make young people aware of things that would make them a better player, Whether that’s upset him in some way or another I don’t know. If he wants to be involved, great. If he wants to go somewhere else, that’s his decision. If I’m not here (at the end of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign) and he wants to come in after that, that’s up to him. But certainly, when I was a young man, if you were selected for your country you were on the first plane over.’

Is this an early sign of petulance from our left sided prospect, or is it a case of the Northern Irish desparately trying to cling onto a young man they feel could bring them future success?

Over to you guys to debate and I invite you to vote on the subject.

[poll id=”42″]

About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

34 thoughts on “Fringe player focus – Shane Ferguson

  1. Potentially a very good player. His situation reminds me a lot of Gosling and they are about the same age as well. He is trying to break into a team with far more talent than was previously present. I think he would make a better left winger than left back for the obvious reasons of his weight and strength. Since Marveaux has had injury problems in the past and either he or Jonas could play right wing instead of Obertan, I think Shane makes excellent cover for the LW spot. Gosling will have the same issues and will have to excel to break into the first team as with Vuckic. Tavernier probably has the best chance of all these players as Simpson is adequate usually, but if we are to improve he has to be put under pressure to keep his place. I would prefer to see Simpson eventually on the bench. Good article again Shamrock.


  2. He’s still young and his versatility should guarantee him a spot on the bench every week


  3. He can still cover the left back position for me, Ryan Taylor’s been steady but Fergie is better/will be better imo, just needs to bulk up a little.


  4. He might be a better option at LB when we’re up against speedy wingers. Someone like Aaron Lennon won’t necessarily overpower Fergie, but he will blow by Ryan Taylor.


  5. Shamrock he could well do a Judas on his Country, but I dont think he will.
    As I touched on it lastnight there is IMO a problem between Worthers and young Fergie, and he was treated like a wee boy by him, so my guess is that Worthers will take charge of us for the last time tonight.
    Then Fergie will get a chance when the new Manager comes in, on a side note Aaron Huges is retiring from International football after tonight, and Worthers wouldn’t even give him a 5 min swansong after all that he has done for us, because he had to withdraw late through injury for the last game we played


  6. DAVE agree, the mans a ****,dont how he got the job in the first place,imo fergie is one for the future


  7. Very promising player. He managed a decent number of games last year and never put a foot wrong. I think, had he been fit, he would have started this season instead of Taylor.

    Unfortunate to miss that chance because I do see him struggling to get into the team unless we have a fair few injuries… but it is Newcastle United after all:-)


  8. Shamrock meant to add very good read mate, its interesting to read about the fringe players 😉
    Ice your spot on mate he is a total tosser and just rubs the players up the wrong way, and seems to try to put them down unless their defenders that will never go forward, he’s had falling out with a brave few players now, of the top of my head Hughes, Fergie, Healy, Gillispie, Baird, Laverty, and Davies, actually it would be easier to try to think of ones he got on with 😆


  9. Unfortunelty agree Big Dave ( well from my point of view ) that Ferguson wont do a ‘ judas ‘ on his country as you put it. Would love him to be turning out for ROI esp in a few years , very exciting prospect 🙂

    Very dissapointing to hear about Hughes , was a good player for us


  10. William I agree I think Pards touched on the fact that he was disappointed that he picked up the injury as he had plans for him, which I think was to be Jose’s replacement 😉


  11. Johno 😉 keep your mitts of him he’s ours 😀
    Yeah Hughes was a good pro and never let Norn Iron down and thats the thanks he gets


  12. Wouldn’t say the International thing is petulance. It’s a huge decision that will effect the rest of his life and he’s only young. If he wants time to decide then fair enough.

    Although I reckon it’d be better to communicate about it, I ain’t gonna look too harshly on the lad.

    I also believe in representing the country you were born in


  13. Quick question for you Dave , Can Northern Ireland pinch players from the Rep of Ireland?


  14. if the manager rates him so highly why wasn’t he in the squad when call ups originally happened


  15. Shamrock, you’re banging them out now kidda, like a man possessed! Fair play, good to see someone else jump on-board and help Uncle Toonsy oot (‘mackems’ is spelled with a lower case ‘m’ though, I must point out).

    On Ferguson, I’ve seen little of him but heard many good reviews (a bit like Ben Arfa actually). At 20 years old though, Ferguson playing at a club ever short of fullbacks and wingers, I’m sure if he was that good he’d be getting more games in. He does look like a bit of a short-arse lightweight to me, but I ain’t seen enough to judge.

    Give him a blast at left back and lob Santon in at RB.


  16. Think he’ll end up a better winger to be honest.

    As for sending him on loan, I dont think we have a strong enough squad at the minute for him to go out on loan.

    He should also play for NI, just because he’s catholic doesn’t mean he should be under pressure to play for the ROI.


  17. Stuart unfortunatly thats the way things go sometimes over here. and tbh their religon has never really came into from the Fans side as most fans didn’t really know what religon players were anyway, the only bad one was if they played for Celtic, but as for Lennon he is a completely diferent kettle of fish and it was nowt to do with who he played for


  18. Not that I would be an expert on the matter but I think player who switch to ROI is for politicle reason more so than relgious reasons.


  19. Alright lads 😀

    I think Ferguson will turn out to be a valuable player for us but he is coming back from injury so I think he will be integrated slowly back into the team


  20. Alreet Zoe, yeah let’s hope he gets his chance eh. Reet, am off to watch mi 2nd favourite team. Laters………..


  21. Rod : [C or U] the belief in and worship of a god or gods, or any such system of belief and worship
    the Christian religion
    • [C] informal an activity which someone is extremely enthusiastic about and does regularly
    Football is a religion for these people.


  22. This kid has the potential to be a really great winger, he’s got the talent and I think he has got the temperament. Still a bit of bulking up to do but the core attributes are all there. Withers originals can go and do one for me, like a previous poster said, look at all the decent NI players he has fallen out with. To come out in the press like he has done, putting pressure on a young kid like that shows a) the NI football association obviously rate the kid highly and are desperate to get him to committ, and rightly so, and b) the crass and zero class he went about it shows why this cretin is out of a job come 10pm tonight. We don’t know what has gone on but something obviously has behind closed doors. To be honest, that’s where it should have stayed until it was sorted, one way or the other. Simple minded idiots will be pointing the finger at fergie which Is really unfair


  23. Nice article again Shamrock.

    Big fan of wee Fergie, as it looks like we all are. I think Pards really rates him but he seems stuck at the moment behind Jonas, Marv, Santon. i’d love to see him go out on loan when he is fit. actually i’d rather seem him at LB and Santon at RB if I’m honest


  24. Thanks for the feedback guys. Big Dave – Good point re: Worthington. He has actually had some very good players on his hands and has done pretty much nothing with them. Aaron Hughes deserved better after all he gave. A proper pro…Nice to hear how respected he is at Fulham through MarkToon’s article the other day..

    Rodz – I’ll bear the M!ackems advice in mind mate haha.

    Re: Ferguson – Quite a result on the poll. It’s not often pretty much everybody is wrong. Out of all our young players coming through, he is my personal favourite. Seems very grounded and so comfortable struttinghis stuff with seasoned pro’s. Just hope he can work on his stamina a bit.

    Personally I’d like to see him get a fair few games under his belt this season for real as opposed to sitting on the bench. If that means going on loan because he cant get a sniff here then fair enough. It will do his confidence and stamina the world of good. 😛


  25. From what little we’ve seen of him in the first-team, he looks like a quality young prospect; a player with a real chance of making it at the highest level. Pacey, skilful and a real confidence and composure on the ball, he knows he’s good.

    Let’s be honest though – he’s a left mid/left winger. With the right coaching and diet, maybe he’s young enough to continue his conversion into an attacking full-back. Anyone who’s seen the reserves know whether he’s managed to bulk up over the summer at all??

    Just a pity that his chances look limited right now, I’d really like to see more of him – so far it’s been a struggle for him to even get on the bench this year!
    Maybe send him out on loan in the 2nd part of the season

    Fergie, Sammy, Vuckic, Abeid….. young Campbell breaking into the academy side – we’ve got some really exciting young uns on our books right now


  26. Some fans on this site dont really understand the facts about playing for the north of ireland or the republic of ireland, the facts are if you are born in any part of ireland, then you can play for the republic of ireland, or northern ireland, these are the facts, it has nothing do do with religion, or politics, the northern ireland manager nigal worthinton has just recently ask alex bruce who has played for the republic or ireland at different levels including the 1st team, but only in a few friendly matches, if he would like to play for northern ireland, so the reality is if your born in any part of the island of ireland, then your free to play for either northern ireland, or the republic of ireland, i thought i would just like to spell out the facts, for my fellow Newcastle fans as i myself live in Northern Ireland. Ha way the lads.


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