Football Saturday saw John Duggan accompanied by Johnny Ward, Daniel McDonnell and Graham Gartland on today’s show, where the panel discussed the sensational performances of Ireland youngster and Brighton & Hove Albion striker Evan Ferguson this week.
Evan Ferguson burst onto the Premier League and the world’s radar when he scored in two consecutive games and even turned provider to assist one too this week, igniting high hopes for the young Meath man in the hearts’ of Irish fans everywhere.
The sudden hype however isn’t to be met with fear according to the Football Saturday panel and Irish Independent writer Dan McDonnell, who is “pretty optimistic that he wouldn’t go the way of some of the more warning lessons we’ve seen before.”
“Some of the stuff this week is very predictable analysis and a lot of ‘well, look what happened to Aaron Connolly’, whereas I think a lot of people in football would know that you’re dealing with two very different personalities” he says.
“I’m sure in the last week he has possibly been exposed to all sorts of messages and offers that he never has before and all the temptations that might head your way I’m sure it’s head spinning” McDonnell continued, but while “there’s always been that little bit of a question mark with other players but that hasn’t been there with him.”
Whatever the future hold for the ex-Bohemians star his work ethic and drive to succeed is unlikely to let him down.
“People have always been convinced that whatever happens with Evan that it won’t be his attitude that trips him up and then after that ability is obviously the question but he’s got loads of that…. it’s just injury that he’d have to avoid really” concluded McDonnell.
Factors outside football
Former professional footballer Graham Gartland was in prime position to provide first-hand experience of what the 18 year old is currently going through, recalling the early times he found himself amid the limelight in the world of football and the importance of the close circle around him at that time.
“My support network was really good with my two older brothers and my older sister…I had been through all of these stories with people telling me listen, this is how you conduct yourself and do your business” he says.
“It’s still so different when you’re living it because you’re living on your own and have your own money so you’re going from a family and a secure network to doing your own thing straight away and some people need cheques and balances to mind their finances.”
He emphasises that “you learn and you grow as you’re going along” and that he too learned many lessons at the start of his career.
“My first wage packet I bought a Boss denim jacket and my whole wage packet was gone but I thought I was the business…. I still have it, it doesn’t fit though!” he laughs.
“You’ve no one there to tell you what to do and then all of a sudden you’d get talking and my sister would say to me that you could buy that in a month but put your money away for it and then you learn to plan and do things like that.”
Football on Off The Ball brought to you by Sky. All the football you love in one place across Sky Sports, BT Sport & Premier Sports.
Download the brand new OffTheBall App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!
Subscribe to OffTheBall's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.