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Irish teen revels in first senior goal as Rooney backs him to be a 'big player' for Derby County

Festy Ebosele struck for the Rams against Millwall on Saturday.

Festy Ebosele is congratulated by Derby County team-mate Max Bird after scoring against Millwall.
Festy Ebosele is congratulated by Derby County team-mate Max Bird after scoring against Millwall.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

FESTY EBOSELE DECLARED himself “over the moon” after scoring for Derby County in Saturday’s 1-1 draw away to Millwall.

With his first goal in senior football, Ebosele gave his side the lead in the Championship fixture as the Rams continued their efforts to move away from the foot of the table.

It was a special moment for the 19-year-old from Enniscorthy, who made his first-team breakthrough last season.

“It was probably the happiest moment of my career so far,” said Ebosele, who links up with the Ireland U21 squad this week for the European Championship qualifiers against Italy and Sweden.

“I just started running everywhere, I was so happy. The lads were telling me to calm down because the game was still going on.”

Manager Wayne Rooney believes Ebosele is capable of going on to have a successful career with Derby, who he joined from Bray Wanderers at the age of 16.

Having initially emerged as a full-back, the Wexford youngster has recently been used in a more advanced role on the right side of midfield.

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“Festy is difficult to play against – he is raw, quick and strong,” said the former Manchester United star. “He will make mistakes on the pitch, we know that, he is a young player, but I thought he was very good, always a threat and it was a nice finish from him as well. I was really pleased for him because he has put a lot of work in.

“I spoke to Festy at the end of last season, he was playing at right-back. I just felt with his attributes he can be very dangerous playing higher up the pitch.

“So we spoke to him and watched videos with him, and have done a lot of work with him trying to make him a more attacking player. I think you have seen it in teams with Michail Antonio at West Ham and Adama Traore at Wolves changing positions.

“Festy has got the ability to cause teams problems. If he keeps working and keeps improving, he can be a big player.”

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Paul Dollery

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