Saturday 19 October 2019

'Evan has got lots of attention from English clubs' - Bohs boss Long hails in-demand 14-year-old after Chelsea debut

Evan Ferguson. Photo: Sportsfile
Evan Ferguson. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

The sense of pride emanating from the right of the press box was palpable when the number 12 flashed up on the fourth official's board.

Many of the sold-out crowd inside Dalymount Park, who to be fair, had come to see Chelsea's stars, scrambled to find out who the player coming on to the pitch was.

Such was the surprise that Evan Ferguson was included in Bohs' squad, he wasn't even named on the team list in the match programme, but then again, what were the chances of Keith Long picking a 14-year-old, let alone actually sending him into the fray?

Sitting at the back of the Jodi Stand were Ferguson's family - his dad Barry, who spent a season gracing the same hallowed turf, while his mam Sarah and sister Ellie also watched a moment that will live with them for the rest of their days.

Long didn't think twice about giving Ferguson a chance - despite what some people may reckon about pitting a 14-year-old against fully-fledged internationals.

Ferguson is in demand from English clubs and it wasn't difficult to see why, as the Ireland underage international used every bit of his rangy frame to trouble the Chelsea defence.

A thumping shot whistled narrowly wide of the post with the goalkeeper beaten all ends up, before he brilliantly stepped over Keith Ward's through ball, which allowed Eric Molloy to snatch a late draw.

"It was no problem to him," Long said. "Evan has got lots of attention from English clubs.

"He's obviously coming through St Kevin's Boys, he's in with the Bohemians U-15s and is doing really well.

"He's played with the U-17s. He's 14-years of age, and he comes off the bench and shows maturity beyond his years, and obviously quality as well. He almost scored, and his clever little step-over for Eric Molloy in the build-up to the goal as well.

"He's a big boy. He's 14 and he looks like a man but he's not, you can't get sucked into that. He's 14 and we're pleased to get him some minutes."

It was a great night for Ferguson and for Bohs, who made a tidy profit from the visit of the Europa League champions.

Long wants to see more big teams visiting Dalymount Park, but he knows the importance of getting the redevelopment of the stadium back on track.

"There are certain assurances given by Government, the FAI - though obviously the turn of events that has happened within the association, we have to keep it at the top of the agenda," the Bohs boss insisted.

"Certainly when the opportunity arises, we have to make our case.

"It discommodes us, we've had to move out of our dressing-room, they (Chelsea) have had to use the bar for extra space. But if we had a brand new stadium, we wouldn't have to compromise."

Irish Independent

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