Welcome to Get to Know Your Futures, a series of info sessions on the up and comers in the Newcastle United youth system. I'm starting with Shane Ferguson, and will be giving Kazenga LuaLua a look next time around. Then I'll be working through several others throughout the summer. If you have any prospect you'd like me to cover specifically shoot me an email or leave a suggestion in the comments.
Let's get started on Shane after the jump.
Shane Kevin Ferguson was born on July 19th, 1991 in Derry, Northern Ireland, where he spent his the first few years of his young career playing for The Candystipes of Derry City. In 2007 Shane came to the NUFC youth system and he made his debut for the big club this past season in a League Cup match versus Accrington Stanley on August 25th. Ferguson has several caps for his native Norther Ireland's youth teams, and one cap for the national team. As of May 27, 2011, Newcastle United have young Ferguson tied up for the next five years.
Shane Ferguson is listed as a Left Back and Left Winger, but I see his future with this club as the replacement for the aging Jonas Gutierrez, who reportedly would like to play in La Liga. Fergs is naturally left footed which proved to be a welcome sight on the left in the last several games of the season. He has just average speed. but makes up for his lack of pace with plus vision and clever ball handling. He's shown flashes of superior crossing ability which gives me great expectation for out future at Left Mid. Shane also plays a fair defensive game, using his vision and football IQ to make up for his lack of pace. Sometimes his positioning is questionable, but I don't see it as a flaw in his play, I see it as a need for more acclimation. Once he spends a bit more time on the pitch with the big club it will sort out.
How Close is He
The answer to this question depends heavily on what happens with Jonas Gutierrez, but I do expect to see young Shane on the bench with greater frequency next season. Look for him to make the odd start and be one of the late subs. I expect he'll be a full time player by the following season.
Overall Grade: B+