De Zerbi: Ferguson's ability was a good surprise

Head coach impressed by young Irishman's progress.

By Charlie Hanson • 26 December 2022

By Paul Hazlewood
Evan Ferguson scored in Albion's 4-2 penalty shootout defeat to Charlton in the Carabao Cup.

Roberto De Zerbi has been impressed by the fearlessness his young players have shown and is particularly happy with Evan Ferguson’s impact.

The 18-year-old Republic of Ireland international came on for the final ten minutes against Charlton Athletic last week and scored his penalty in the shootout, as Albion lost 4-3 at the Valley after a goalless draw in 90 minutes.

“He played well,” De Zerbi said about the striker. “He is very young, but a very good player. I would like to let him to play more, I don't know how much time in the game [against Southampton] but I would like to give him the possibility to play.

“For me [his ability] was a surprise, because I knew him, but during this recent period I have got to know him better.”


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De Zerbi's Southampton press conference

Like Ferguson, Roberto wants his young players to be fearless when given their opportunity.

“I always encourage the young players more. I want the younger players to not think about making a mistake, they don't have to be afraid, they have to enjoy playing. [They need to] enjoy being on the pitch.

“[Julio] Enciso was born in 2004 and is a good player. But in training he is different to when he's in a game, and this is my responsibility. I want him to play in the game like he is in training.”