Evan Ferguson compared to Erling Haaland and Michael Owen with ‘special’ Brighton wonderkid tipped to play in Champions League
Evan Ferguson has the potential to be “a complete player”, according to Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi, with the starlet being compared to Michael Owen and Erling Haaland.
The 18-year-old striker is quickly establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s most exciting young players after bursting onto the scene on the south coast.
Ferguson made five appearances for Brighton last season, including his Premier League debut in a 3-0 home defeat to Burnley, but it was this season where he really came into his own.
The powerful striker has scored seven goals in just 16 senior appearances so far this season, including a brace in the 5-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over Grimsby.
After being disallowed a goal, Ferguson could easily have walked away with the match ball against the League Two side, leading England legend and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker to describe him as “a true centre-forward “.
His own manager, De Zerbi, was also keen to sing his praises as he explained how he tries to improve his all-around game.
Speaking after the match, De Zerbi said: “Ferguson is a special striker.
“My team and I are working to improve him not only to be a number nine and a striker, but also to understand the game – when to receive the ball or when to attack space and not just one thing – to complete the player, to complete the guy.
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“He’s a really good guy and I think if you work with a smart guy it’s good because he understands and he’s getting better every day.”
Ferguson only turning 18 in October, the young striker certainly has the world at his feet.
He’s already won two senior caps for the Republic of Ireland and according to talkSPORT’s Scott Minto, Ferguson is already showing similarities to two striking Premier League legends.
Minto told talkSPORT: “The scary thing is he could go all the way, he really could. I look at him and he’s 18 now, he’s playing like a 29-year-old. He has the physique of a 29 year old, he has the maturity of a 29 year old and you talk about someone like Mitoma who can get better, well this kid obviously can get better and better.
“When he is in front of goal, he has a very different physique, but he looks like Michael Owen. You have to be icy in front of goal and have that composure and he did. He was only just offside for the goal which was disallowed, but if it wasn’t for that he would have scored a hat-trick here.
“Forget the fact that you are playing against a Ligue 2 side, that would have been three quality goals, so how good could it be?” He could definitely play for a Champions League team in a few years.
Minto added: “Who is the best finisher right now? Erling Haland. He plays between the sticks and I think Manchester City don’t quite play his way.
“Evan Ferguson is one of those people who knows what he has to do. He knows he has to stay between the sticks and if he does that Brighton team will give him chances.
“He’s scored seven goals now for Brighton and he’s the best-performing teenager in all competitions this season and that’s just sensational in what the Premier League is all about.
“This kid can go all the way. I say about playing for a Champions League club, he could play for a Champions League club next season at Brighton.
As things stand, Brighton are seven points off fourth in the league, but with three games less there is every chance they will be in the running at the end of the season.