Evan Ferguson was backed to become one of the best players in Europe after he etched his name into the Premier League history books last weekend.
The St Kevin’s Boys graduate and former Bohemians starlet scored a first senior hat trick for Brighton against Newcastle on Saturday and came away with more than just the match ball.
The 18-year-old set an Irish record and secured a place alongside some of Premier League greats in the treble stats.
The Irish teen became the first Irish 18-year-old to score a hat trick at the level and only the fourth player to hit the net three times in a Premier League game before turning 19.
He joins a list that includes former Liverpool scoring sensations Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen as well as former Sheffield Wednesday wonder midfielder Chris Bart-Williams.
The three-goal haul only sees the son of former pro Barry Ferguson reach 10 Premier League goals early in his career, a feat only one non-English player previously achieved at 18, Cesc Fabregas.
Speaking after the game his manager, Roberto De Zerbi heralded Fergusons all-round performance, pointing out his ability to score goals could see him become one of Europe’s most prolific strikers.
“His improvement is important for him, for us, for his career because he’s working to complete his qualities, not only score, because he can become big, big, big,” said the Italian coach.
“His qualities are enough to become a great player, one of the top scorers in Europe.
“He’s (born in) 2004. I don’t know how many young players like Evan they score these goals in their careers.”
It has been an impressive start for the young talent, only Michael Owen (28), Wayne Rooney (15) and Francis Jeffers have scored more goals before their 19th birthday and Ferguson has a month to go to add to his tally.
Evan Ferguson with the match ball after his hat-trick for Brighton last week