Evan Ferguson: From Bohemians to now an ever-growing talent at Brighton

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Evan Ferguson added to his ever-growing reputation by notching a brace in Brighton’s 3-2 defeat to Liverpool in their Premier League 2 clash on Sunday.

Born in County Meath, Ireland joined the Seagulls from Bohemians in January after beginning his career at St Kevin’s Boys. The club are famous for developing players such as Damien Duff, Ian Harte and Robbie Brady.

Sensationally, Ferguson made his debut for Bohemians at the age of just 14 when he came on for a brief substitute appearance against Derry City. It sparked some debate at the time about whether it was necessary for a lad as young as that to take the field along with players more than double his age.

What it did show though is just how highly rated the teenager was in Phibsborough. Ferguson then went on to make another notable appearance, this time in a friendly against Chelsea which was Frank Lampard’s first game in charge of the London club. The forward produced a lovely dummy to allow Bohemians to equalise and caught the eye once more.

Several clubs in England, including Liverpool, were said to be chasing the young sensation but it was Brighton who won the race. The South Coast club play lovely football and aren’t afraid to give youth a chance which will almost certainly have influenced Ferguson’s decision.

To put his age into perspective, the youngster was born after Greece won the European Championship in 2004. Remarkably, the 16-year-old is now settled in the under-23 side and has made nine appearances since his January move. He’s eligible to play at this level for another seven years.

Ferguson got his first goal in the 6-1 crushing of West Ham but it was Sunday’s double which will no doubt make people stand up and take notice. The teenager is so powerfully built of someone at such a tender age that he does not look out of place against older opponents.

At Liverpool’s Academy on Sunday he made an instant impact, latching on to a sloppy back pass from Remi Savage before finishing past Liam Hughes in the Liverpool goal.

Brighton technical director Dan Ashworth was in the stands casting an eye over proceedings and will be pleased by the young Irishman’s impact.

Ferguson held the ball up well and looked hungry to add to his early goal, seeing a left-footed volley blocked for a corner. Trying to make runs in behind the defence, the youngster was left frustrated as Liverpool came into the game.

After seeing his side pegged back, the 16-year-old was played through on goal and will have been disappointed not to score with Hughes saving the shot with his feet.

That proved to only be a temporary setback as Ferguson would grab his second to put Brighton back in front after good work from Romaric Yapi. Yapi, who impressed after coming on at half-time, broke free down the right and crossed the ball into the striker, who showed a poacher’s instinct and couldn’t miss.

Savage and fellow defender Morgan Boyes will have been relieved to see Ferguson’s number come up as the striker was substituted in the 73rd minute.

As disappointed as it will have been to see his side lose late on having led twice, it will have been a proud day on a personal level for a young man whose potential has no limit at this early stage in his career.

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