Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi hails 'special striker' Evan Ferguson

The 18-year-old forward also spoke about the prospect of playing for Ireland against France after bagging a brace on Sunday.
Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi hails 'special striker' Evan Ferguson

EVAN ALMIGHTY: Brighton's Evan Ferguson, right, celebrates with Kaoru Mitoma after scoring his side's second goal during the English FA Cup quarterfinals soccer match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Grimsby Town at the AMEX Stadium in Brighton, England, Sunday, March 19, 2023. (AP Photo/David Cliff)

Brighton and Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi has hailed Evan Ferguson as a 'special striker' and has backed the young forward to keep improving.

The 18-year-old front man netted a brace in Brighton's convincing 5-0 victory against Grimsby Town on Sunday afternoon which has booked a Wembley date with Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final.

Speaking to reporters after that triumph, the Seagulls boss was full of praise for the Bettystown native, who took his tally of goals for the season to seven with two supremely composed finishes.

"He is a special striker," began De Zerbi.

"We are working to improve him not only as a striker but also his understanding of the play - when to receive the ball and attack the space - so he becomes a complete player.

"If you work with a clever guy like Evan it’s nice because he understands exactly what you want and will improve day by day.

"He has goalscoring qualities, but he can arrive at a higher level. He has to learn to play like a midfielder when the play is away from the goal areas and like a striker in the last 20 metres.

"We need Ferguson and Danny Welbeck to be like a number 10 and a number nine."

Ferguson's display has increased the likelihood of Stephen Kenny selecting him to spearhead the Republic of Ireland attack when they welcome France to the Aviva Stadium next Monday.

If given the nod, it will be talented youngster's first qualifier for the Boys in Green and it will come against the World Cup runners-up in Ireland's first qualification game for Euro 2024 in Germany.

"We have a friendly and a qualifier so I think it will be good to be involved," Ferguson told Brighton's official website after the win against Grimsby.

"It will be my first qualifier that I have been involved in so it would be a good experience. When you get called up for your country I think there's no better feeling, there's no other feeling representing Ireland so I want to keep going yeah.

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