Ferguson enjoying Northern exposure
Shane Ferguson is hoping his exploits with Northern Ireland can help him prove his worth to Newcastle and flourish in the Barclays Premier League.
Ferguson, 22, has played a handful of first-team matches for the Magpies but is currently on a season-long loan with Birmingham, having dropped a division in pursuit of regular matches.
He may appear to be the very embodiment of a recent study that showed British players are finding it harder and harder to make an impact on England's top flight, but he has not given up hope of being a hit at St James' Park.
And he believes his status as a regular international for Northern Ireland could hold the key.
"I played my first senior game for Northern Ireland before I'd played for Newcastle and it was good for me," he told Press Association Sport.
"International football gives you a lot of opportunities, with a lot of people watching. If you're performing on the international stage then people will be looking at you for club football too.
"I've plenty of time left on my deal at Newcastle, two years after this season, so I have the time to get back into the team.
"For now it's good for me to get plenty of games instead of coming on here and there."
Although Ferguson, who is expected to start his country's final World Cup qualifier against Israel on Tuesday night, is defiantly optimistic about his future, he cannot deny that the route for home-grown players into Premier League teams is a tough one to negotiate.
"It is hard, there's a lot of competition and lots of boys at your heels trying to take your position," he said.
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