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'He is highly sought after' - Praise for Bohs' 14-year-old after impressive Chelsea cameo

Liverpool are among those understood to be scouting Evan Ferguson, who impressed in last night’s 1-1 draw against Frank Lampard’s side.

THAT FRANK LAMPARD is already the Chelsea manager may make you feel old; that his side last night faced a striker younger than Facebook and Euro 2004 is guaranteed to send you fumbling through your mind for years you never realised had passed.

KEVINS Source: St Kevin's Boys FC.

Lampard’s first game in charge ended in a 1-1 draw with Bohemians at Dalymount Park last night, with 14-year-old striker Evan Ferguson impressing off the bench for Bohs. 

Ferguson was introduced just after the hour mark and impressed against a Chelsea defence featuring familiar names like Kurt Zouma and Davide Zappacosta.

Leading the line alone, he twice cut in from the left-hand side of the box with a stepover, jink and a drop of his shoulder.

The second of these led to a vicious shot that whipped narrowly wide of the far post. 

He then had the awareness to dummy Keith Ward’s late pass for Eric Molloy, who scored Bohs’ equaliser a minute from the end. 

A product of St Kevin’s Boys, the schoolboy club whose graduates include Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick, Ferguson has been involved with Bohs’ U15s and U17s and has been capped up to U16 level by Ireland. 

He is being tracked by a series of clubs in England, and The42 understands Liverpool are among those keen for his services. It’s also understood he is due to train with Brighton and Hove Albion later this week. 

While Evan may soon leave the League of Ireland, his family are steeped in it. His father Barry played at centre-back with Bohs, Sporting Fingal, and Shamrock Rovers having won two FAI Cups and a League Cup with Longford Town in the early part of the last decade.

“Evan is a highly sought after young prospect”, Bohs boss Keith Long said after last night’s game. 

“There are a lot of Premier League clubs in the UK interested in Evan. His father Barry played in the League for Longford and quite a number of teams, so he comes from a good background.

He is highly thought of, and this was an opportunity for him to come in and get a cameo appearance tonight, and I thought he did very well. He obviously looks older than his years in terms of his physique, but he is 14 years of age and will be 15 in October. It was an opportunity to come in and play and give him a taste what the future may hold for him.

“For the goal, it’s a nice little step over. Some of his combination play with Keith Ward was quite good, his hold-up play was quite good. He is a talented boy.” 

Elsewhere, the scorer of that goal, Eric Molloy, is on trial with Bohemians at the moment and Long was tight-lipped about the likelihood of his staying long-term. 

Keith Long celebrates after the game Keith Long. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Having played in the League with Wexford Youths, Molloy moved to New Zealand to play with Team Wellington in 2016. Last year, he became the first Irish player since 2008 to appear at the Fifa Club World Cup. 

“We asked him in to play tonight, he has been training with us for the last couple of days”, said Long.

“Eric is familiar with the League, he was part of Wexford Youths’ promotion-winning team and played in the Premier Division with Wexford before he went down to New Zealand.

“He has trained with us for a couple of days, he has taken his goal really well, and that’s an opportunity for us to have a look at him.”

Frank Lampard Frank Lampard arrives for his first game in charge of Chelsea. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Overall, Bohs’ performance was worthy of a draw against a Chelsea side that mingled inexperience with ring-rust and fatigue beneath a heavy training load. Whereas this was a pre-season friendly for Chelsea, it’s a mid-season run-out for Bohs and Long was keen to emphasise where his side’s attention lies. 

“It was a good night for the club, there was a big crowd here, I think it’s a good performance and we deserved to get the equaliser.

“We have been lucky this season that our gates have been quite strong, and it’s not uncommon to have a sell-out here.

“It’s good to get a team the calibre of Chelsea across, so credit must go to the people at the club who organised it and got a team like Chelsea across.

“I said to the boys beforehand, ‘Go out and play, go out and fucking play’, excuse me. But try and play, express yourself, don’t be overawed and don’t be looking up at these guys. We have some good players too, and they have to believe in themselves. 

Our focus is UCD on Monday. This was a chance for players to come in and play well, and keep us in a good frame of mind going into the UCD game. And that’s what it is about for us. Tonight is a good game to have, get plenty of game time for players and hopefully, it won’t interfere with our preparations for Monday.

“It’s great that we have a Premier League club here, but really, it’s about Monday for us.” 

After Molloy’s equaliser, the Bohs fans belted out a chorus of ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ in Lampard’s direction. 

When it was brought up with him after the game, Keith Long laughed. 

“Once it’s not me!” 

 

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Gavin Cooney

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