Evan Ferguson relishing the chance to learn from former Man United idol Danny Welbeck

By David Donnelly

Evan Ferguson says it’s been quite an experience to go from watching Danny Welbeck from afar to learning from and playing with him in training every day.

The Brighton & Hove Albion striker grew up supporting Manchester United and watching Welbeck in a red shirt but is now very much in competition with the England international.

17-year-old Ferguson made his FA Cup debut for the English club on Saturday and kickstarted their comeback win over West Brom to book a place in the fourth round.

He laid on the equaliser for fellow substitute Jakub Moder and had a goal disallowed for offside in extra time that would have sealed it after Neal Maupay put Brighton in front.

Ferguson, who became the Premier League side’s fifth-youngest player when he made his bow in the league cup against Cardiff City last year, impressed in his hour on the pitch.

With compatriot Aaron Connolly having gone out on loan to Middlesbrough for the rest of the season, former St Kevin’s Boys schoolboy Ferguson is likely to see more gametime in the coming weeks.

And the Bettystown man, who made his senior debut for Bohemians against Chelsea aged 14, says the senior professionals at the club have been nothing but supportive.

He said: “I grew up a Manchester United fan, so I used to watch Danny every week and now he’s a teammate. It’s weird playing and training with him every day.

“There’s a few guys who look out for me in the group. Obviously there’s the Irish connection with Shane [Duffy], he looks after you.

“But even in training, if you have good movement or you could have better movement they’ll tell you. They are used to it every week in the Premier League.

“With strikers like Neal Maupay, Welbeck and Leandro Trossard, you get to see different types of movement and learn from it.

“I feel good when I am training with the boys, it’s helping build my confidence and my game up.”

Ferguson twice thought he’d bagged his first senior goal in extra time, first seeing an effort just bounce onto the roof of the net before having another ruled out.

“The fans travel in numbers to every away game and give us the support that we need. It was good hearing your name – it gives you even more motivation to try and win the game.

“I thought I’d scored the winner in front of them. I couldn’t see the ball because it was behind the goalkeeper.

“I was already running over to the fans to celebrate and I was devastated when it landed on the roof of the net!”


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