Keith Long confirms teenager Evan Ferguson will join Brighton & Hove Albion next summer

Wed, Nov 11 2020

Bohemians manager Keith Long has confirmed that teenage striker Evan Ferguson’s long-muted move to Premier League Brighton & Hove Albion will be completed next summer.

The Bohemians boss also revealed there has been no approach for Danny Grant, who was linked with Hull City in media reports across the channel over the weekend.

Ferguson, who turned 16 last month, was handed his full senior debut by Long in Monday night’s 2-1 win over St Patrick’s Athletic, which brought the 2020 league campaign to a close.

The teenager performed well during his 75 minutes on the field, before he was replaced by Conor Levingston, and was only denied a first senior goal by a contentious handball decision.

Ferguson appeared to have turned Danny Grant’s cross into the net with his foot but referee Rob Hennessy was adamant that the striker had controlled the ball with his hand.

“We gave Evan Ferguson a chance, slighty altered our shape a little bit from what we would normally do,” Long told extratime.com.

“Evan gets a really good goal, a well-worked goal, chalked off for I don’t know. It’s absolutely clear as day that he got it with his foot and tapped it into the goal.

“There’s no way he’s gone near it with his hand, it’s as clear as day. End of. At times referees can make mistakes – we’re all human. We all make mistakes.

“Rob is a good referee, but I think overall he’ll be disappointed with his own performance, and that’s fine. Sometimes you have good nights, sometimes you have bad nights, it’s the same with us.

“But the difficulty for me is it’s a perfectly goal chalked off, and with it we would have won the game 3-1.

“And Evan Ferguson, just turned 16 in October, probably goes down in history as the youngest Bohs player to get a goal, and that’s been deprived him tonight.”

Ferguson made headlines last summer when he made a substitute appearance as a 14-year-old in Bohs’ 1-1 friendly draw with English Premier League side Chelsea.

He had already made an agreement in principle with their Premier League rivals Brighton but, as he was under the age of 16, he couldn’t sign a binding contract.

Ferguson, whose father Barry was a League of Ireland player with Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers, can now complete a move – though Long joked he may have other options if he keeps performing.

“He has a deal already done with Brighton. He’ll go in the summer coming. I don’t think there’s any secret there.

“That’s on the cards, unless something were to change in the meantime. Maybe Real Madrid might come in for him!”

Long added that the club has received no approach for winger Grant, who has been offered a new deal by the club for 2021.

"I haven't seen that. That’s news to me," he said.

"Grant McCann is the manager there. He’s got plenty of contacts here in Ireland so I’m sure they’re keeping an eye on good young players. There’s been no contact."

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