18 years of age and already an Ireland international and a Brighton starter. Evan Ferguson is a special talent and his recent breakthrough into this Brighton & Hove Albion side has turned plenty of heads already.
6ft tall but looking seemingly taller, owning up to a possible growth spurt in between now and the time the measurements have been made, the striker is a real physical presence with a big frame. You usually associate these types of strikers with slight pace issues or with being generally clunky on the ball but Ferguson is neither of those things. He has a big stride on him and you really feel his full speed of his when he goes on to press the opposition in a bigger space. A real powerhouse who immediately causes panic coming at defenders.
He scored his first goal for Brighton in a 4-2 defeat against Arsenal, pouncing on William Saliba’s mistake and he never looked back since. It was only his third PL appearance and 29 minutes was all it took to pounce versus the Premier League leaders. His stats after that have been spotless. He now has a total of 5 goal involvements in as many games. A goal involvement every 39 minutes. Easy does it…
Brighton came out victorious in their FA Cup tie versus Liverpool and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s goal-line clearance stopped Evan Ferguson from getting another one. A few minutes after that he produced this fine bit of link-up play, combining with Kaoru Mitoma who just couldn’t finish it off.
He slotted into the team effortlessly and you’d hardly make the assumption that he’s just 18 if you watched him for the first time. He looks like a seasoned pro and someone who’s been playing at this level for some time.
18-year-old, but especially centre forwards who debut at this level have glaring flaws and typically only give you glimpses of what they could achieve on top of struggling physically or mentally. That’s COMPLETELY normal as well. Don’t get me wrong, Ferguson is just at the start of his development and far from perfect but if you look at his overall skillset and how finely tuned he is at some things already, that’s where he separates himself from a talent and a premium talent.
Look at the timing of the jump and the connection he gets on this header against Leicester… that’s a finish beyond his years.
Five goal contributions in his last four Premier League appearances 💫
Evan Ferguson is living every young lad’s dream ☘#COYBIGpic.twitter.com/O004zv5lht
— Kenny’s Kids (@KennysKids) January 21, 2023
How many ready-made strikers at the age 0f 18 who were/are completely capable to lead the line on their own at a PL club can you name over the years? Rooney, Anelka, Fowler, Rashford, Iheanacho, Greenwood, Owen, Lukaku are the top picks from the tweet below. The list really isn’t that long and it took me a little bit to think of even a few names, let alone that many.
Help me out here, when’s the last time we’ve seen an 18 year old who looks more than ready to lead the line on his own at a PL club?
— BP (@BallProgression) January 29, 2023
Evan Ferguson is in a somewhat elite company and that’s no small feat.
His technique looks very solid, he can drive at defenders with the ball and his layoffs to midfielders are veteran like. He looks to have a lot of power in his shots but he’s still learning to control it. There’s certainly some finesse behind the shots and they don’t look “scuffed”, all about working on it more now.
Overall his fundamentals are at a high level and that’s what really stands out for me. His overall skillset is just impressive. Little things like control of his body at high speed, stop-starts, fluidity in his movement – noticeable when he changes direction with/without the ball and use of his body in duels show me just how far ahead he is ahead of his age mates. A real mobile target man.
To sum it up, Ferguson looks like he could be a mainstay in this league for years to come and I wouldn’t be surprised if United/Tottenham/Chelsea come calling soon. De Zerbi knows how to nurture young talent and Ferguson is in a good place to develop even further and reach his full potential. I’ll definitely keep an eye on his career and development.