Shane Ferguson happy to be handed N Ireland start

Shane Ferguson
Shane Ferguson has yet to make an appearance for Newcastle United this season
Euro 2016 Group F qualifier: Greece v Northern Ireland
Venue: Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus Date: Tuesday, 14 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Ulster and the BBC Sport website

Shane Ferguson says he was happy to be handed a starting role for Northern Ireland's 2-0 Euro 2016 qualifier win over the Faroe Islands in Belfast.

The Newcastle winger has not played a minute of competitive football for the under-pressure Magpies this season.

After missing the victory over Hungary, Ferguson was recalled to the NI side after Chris Brunt suffered an injury.

"It felt good to get 90 minutes under my belt for Northern Ireland," he said. "I want to play every international."

Ferguson is ready to leave the north east Premier League giants on loan if it means keeping his Northern Ireland prospects alive.

The 23-year-old accepts there is no immediate route back into manager Alan Pardew's plans and is hoping to arrange a short-term move elsewhere.

He ended last season at Birmingham City, but found himself edged out as they waged a relegation battle.

Shane Ferguson factfile
Born 12 July 1991 in Derry, Londonderry
Formerly played gaelic football for Derry GAA
Joined the Newcastle United youth system in July 2007
Has made 23 senior first-team appearances for the Magpies
Has won 17 international caps for Northern Ireland
Made his debut in a 3-0 defeat by Italy on 6 June 2009
Scored his only international goal to date in a friendly against Finland on 15 August 2012

With Northern Ireland sitting top of qualifying Group F after two wins, Ferguson does not want to miss out any longer.

"I just need to get playing now - the atmosphere around the Northern Ireland camp is great - the mood has been fantastic after the last couple of games and it makes you realise you don't want to miss any of this.

"If I'm honest I'll probably have to go somewhere else. Alan Pardew has said he's been impressed with me in training but I'm still young so going out on loan could be a good thing for me."

"I don't want to be sitting doing nothing, I'm not like that. I got the taste for it again on Saturday night and all I want to do now is be back playing."

The majority of Ferguson's Northern Ireland career has been spent on the left wing, but he dropped into the back four against the Faroes and is willing to make it a regular thing if it means a starting spot in Michael O'Neill's side.

"I had no concerns about doing the job because I've worked very hard in training and I've been doing extra sessions to make sure I was ready for Northern Ireland if I got the chance," he said.

"I don't mind playing left-back, I've played there for Newcastle's first team so it's something I have in my game.

"I wouldn't mind where I play, if it's left-back I'd have no hesitation at all. The main thing is to keep my place in the team."

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Iceland22006066
2Czech Rep22004226
3Netherlands21014313
4Kazakhstan201113-21
5Latvia201103-31
6Turkey200215-40

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wales21102114
2Belgium11006063
3Israel11002113
4Cyprus21013303
5Bos-Herze201112-11
6Andorra200218-70

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Slovakia22003126
2Spain21016333
3Ukraine21012113
4Macedonia210147-33
5Luxembourg201134-11
6Belarus201113-21

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Poland22009096
2R. of Ireland22009186
3Scotland21012203
4Germany210123-13
5Georgia200213-20
6Gibraltar2002014-140

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England22007076
2Lithuania22003036
3Estonia21011103
4Slovenia21011103
5Switzerland200203-30
6San Marino200207-70

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Northern Ireland22004136
2Finland21104224
3Romania21102114
4Hungary201123-11
5Greece201112-11
6Faroe Islands200215-40

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Russia21105144
2Montenegro21102024
3Austria21103214
4Sweden20202202
5Liechtenstein201104-41
6Moldova200214-30

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Italy22004136
2Croatia22003036
3Norway21013213
4Bulgaria21012203
5Azerbaijan200224-20
6Malta200205-50

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Denmark21103214
2Albania21102114
3Serbia10101101
4Armenia201123-11
5Portugal100101-10
View full European Championship Qualifying tables

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