After scoring a hat trick for Brighton, the future looks bright for striker Evan Ferguson. The teenager has joined an elite group of Premier League players.
The 18-year-old now has 10 Premier League goals after scoring on three of his four shots in Albion’s 3-1 win against Newcastle. He was one of three players on Saturday to score a hat trick in the Premier League; the others were Erling Haaland of Manchester City and Son Heung-min of Tottenham.
“It’s not bad company to be in with them boys,” the Republic of Ireland striker said to BBC Sport.
“Obviously Haaland broke the record last season, and Son has been doing it for a number of years, so it’s good company to be in.”
Before his 19th birthday, only Michael Owen (28), Wayne Rooney (15), and Francis Jeffers (12) had scored more goals in the Premier League than Ferguson. Owen won the Ballon d’Or, and Rooney set new goalscoring records for Manchester United and England.
Owen is the youngest player to score a hat trick in the Premier League, joining Robbie Fowler and the late Chris Bart-Williams.
What makes Ferguson’s accomplishments even more impressive is that he did not come up through the English football system like those other players did; he made his professional debut with Bohemians at the age of 14 and did not join Brighton until 2021.
Former Blackburn striker Chris Sutton claimed on BBC Radio 5 Live that “he could not be at a better club at the moment than Brighton under Roberto de Zerbi.”
“For a kid of 18, he’s got incredible physicality. Consider how far he will have come in the next three to four years for Evan Ferguson.
When you factor in assists, Ferguson joins Cesc Fabregas of Spain (five goals, ten assists) as the only foreign players to reach double digits in the Premier League before turning 19 years old.
Last year, Ferguson scored 10 goals in 25 games for Brighton in all competitions, and despite starting the season on the bench, he has already scored four times in four games this year.
Kaoru Mitoma, who was virtually unknown in England a year ago, has emerged as one of the league’s top wingers, thus he is playing for a team that is not hesitant to give unheralded individuals a chance.
To say Ferguson is unknown at home would be inaccurate. The Republic of Ireland’s best striker hope since Robbie Keane, his name is already on the top of the squad sheet.
When Rooney scored that goal for Everton against Arsenal [at the age of 16], he caused quite a stir. I can see it happening with Evan,” Karl Lamb, who coached Ferguson for eight years at St. Kevin’s Football Club, said to BBC Sport earlier this year.
For the past decade or so, Ireland has been waiting for someone like him. It’s like “this lad has come out of nowhere” in England, but “this lad is the great hope” in Ireland.
However, what further success might Ferguson have?
Ex-Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp remarked of him on Sky Sports, “there’s elements of all the great strikers we’ve seen in the Premier League in this man.”
If he keeps this up, he’ll be worth at least £100 million. This guy is really good. He’s a rare breed of central forward. That man was incredible.
The former England player, though, stressed that Ferguson should not consider quitting the club anytime soon.
“Right now there’s nowhere better for him,” Redknapp elaborated. He’s learning the game from the ground up while working with a terrific coach and top-tier players. Few football coaches want to employ such a strategy.
He has tremendous potential for future success. For the time being, he can accomplish it at this location, and when the time is perfect, he can travel somewhere. There are hints of Rooney, Kane, and Shearer in his game as well. He’s stocked his locker to the brim with gear.
The transfer window closed on Friday night, putting a conclusion to a summer in which Brighton sold nearly £160 million worth of players without appearing to suffer any ill effects.
“We are happy that the transfer market is closed,” Albion manager De Zerbi said on BBC Radio 5 Live. That’s great news since we intend to keep him and develop him more in the future.
Ferguson scored first when he pounced on the rebound of a shot by Billy Gilmour that had been parried by Nick Pope. His second attempt came from 25 yards out and curled past Pope, and his third attempt was deflected.
“Today is a good day,” Ferguson declared. You need to be ready to score the opening goal, and that’s a striker’s job. Thanks to a stroke of luck, I was able to sneak it in.
In the second one, we discussed how I actually had more time in the first half than I had realized. In the second half, I was certain that I could get a shot off if I turned and ran at the defense. The shot was successful, and everything turned out well.
It felt fantastic to get the third one in right from the bat. We’ll count it even if skeptics argue it was a deflection. It’s hard to describe the sensation.