John Aldridge: Caoimhin Kelleher and Evan Ferguson face transfer dilemmas
Ireland’s brightest talents will get offers to move to make Premier League moves this summer
CAOIMHIN Kelleher and Evan Ferguson will have big decisions to make this summer that could dictate their futures.
From the evidence of the last couple of years, Kelleher and Ferguson are Ireland's two best players at this moment and both need to be in Stephen Kelly's team for the Euro 2024 qualifier giants Greece next month.
I know Gavin Bazunu has been getting into the Ireland line-up ahead of Kelleher, but Caoimhin should be Ireland's No.1 because he is a class act and has proved himself on the biggest of stages.
He was a key player in Liverpool's League Cup and FA Cup wins last season and is a top class keeper, who should be playing every week.
That's where the problem lies for a keeper who is now 24 and needs to decide what comes next in his career.
From a selfish point of view, I'd love him to stay at Liverpool for a few years and take over from Alisson Becker, but that could be a long way down the road.
Kelleher might not be prepared to warm benches for the next five years in the hope that he will be Liverpool No.1 at some point, so you can see a scenario where he moves on this summer.
I know he loved Liverpool and everyone at the club can't speak highly enough of the lad, including manager Jurgen Klopp.
Yet we all know that he is too good to be watching football from the bench and he could get into most Premier League teams.
That's why there has to be a chance he moves on this summer and while I hope that doesn't happen, you can see offers coming in for him.
At Kelleher's age, you could understand if he felt the time was right for a fresh challenge, but I feel that story is a little different with Ferguson.
I really like what I've seen from this 18-year-old and he could be the striker Ireland have been waiting for since Robbie Keane's retirement.
Ferguson holds the ball up well, makes intelligent runs, has a great touch and is pretty clinical when chances come his way.
He will give Kenny a focal point to his Ireland team that has been lacking and if he could score a goal every two of three games, it could transform Ireland’s fortunes.
The question he might face this summer is whether he stays at Brighton or moves to a big Premier League clubs.
There are suggestions that Manchester United and Liverpool are among the clubs looking at Ferguson and I can see why he is on their radars.
Yet I would advise the lad to stay at Brighton for now, get a full season of Premier League football under his belt and the big move will come if he continues on his current path.
If he was to join Liverpool, he probably wouldn’t get into the starting line-up most weeks and this important development phase of his career would be halted.
It would be a similar story at Manchester United, as he wouldn’t start in place of Marcus Rashford and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Harry Kane end up at United this summer.
That is not what Ferguson needs at this point in his career and being a part of a very exciting Brighton side could be the perfect platform for him to launch at great career.
The decisions Kelleher and Ferguson take this summer could be crucial to Ireland’s hopes of success over the next few years.
As Wales and Scotland have highlighted in recent qualifying campaigns, you only need three or four top players to enjoy success on the international stage and these two lads are important pieces in our jigsaw.
We have to hope there are a few more bursting through the ranks, with Kelleher and Ferguson proving the door to the Premier League remains open for Irish kids.
The 'Ratt' Back | Gardaí on high alert as mob boss Brian Rattigan spotted arriving home at Dublin airport
MURDER PROBE | Gangland gun victim Gary Carey’s family were at his bedside as he died, inquest hears
bad vibes | Teen faces prosecution for allegedly stealing vibrating sex toy from Dublin adult shop
heartbreaking | Cavan community ‘in shock’ after tragic death of teen girl (17) in tractor crash
No Kin do | Promoter claims Daniel Kinahan is not involved in Saudi boxing negotiations
Glove Island | Shelbourne FC goalkeeper Scott Van-der-Sluis tipped to enter Love Island
Big achievement | Influencer Aoife Walsh expresses excitement after buying her first pad
charges denied | Well-known bike racer appears in court accused of rape on Isle of Man
Oops | "How the f*** do I get home" - Eamonn Holmes swears live on breakfast show
TAG TEAM | Sex worker and pimp boyfriend who threatened to expose her ‘clients’ are jailed