FERGIE TIME NOW

Shane Fer­gu­son is a Mill­wall player per­ma­nently... and tar­get­ting Euro ‘16

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Nick Lough

FLY­ING winger Shane Fer­gu­son is eye­ing a place in North­ern Ire­land’s Euro 2016 squad af­ter sign­ing a per­ma­nent deal with Mill­wall – but his first aim is to help the Lions roar back from two goals down to reach Wem­b­ley in the John­stone’s Paint Tro­phy fi­nal.

The League One side lost 2-0 at home to Ox­ford United a fort­night ago in the first leg of their area fi­nal, but Fer­gu­son is con­fi­dent he and his team-mates will put up a fight at the Kas­sam as the match is of high im­por­tance to boss Neil Har­ris.

“We’ll be do­ing ev­ery­thing we can to get through on the night,” the 24-year-old told The FLP.

“The last game didn’t quite go to plan for us, but we just need to give it our all and see what hap­pens. We know we’ll have the fans sup­port­ing us all the way.

“The man­ager has al­ways in­stilled into us that each game is as im­por­tant as the last, so we’ll make sure we are at our best to get us to that fi­nal.”

Fer­gu­son was brought to the Den on loan from New­cas­tle United in Au­gust but has now signed an 18-month con­tract which will see him re­main in south-east Lon­don un­til the sum­mer of 2017.

“I’m very happy ev­ery­thing is done now, so I can just fo­cus on the foot­ball,” he said.

“I look for­ward to the fu­ture now at Mill­wall and to­wards the rest of the sea­son.

“All I want to do is play foot­ball and I’ve been do­ing that this sea­son and en­joy­ing it.

“From day one, Mill­wall wanted me here per­ma­nently, and I think it was the best choice for me with the Euros ap­proach­ing.”

Brought up in Derry, Fer­gu­son left home as a teenager to pur­sue his ul­ti­mate dream of be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional foot­baller, with the Mag­pies hand­ing him his golden chance to shine.

“I moved over from North­ern Ire­land when I was 15 along­side two other lads, in­clud­ing Paddy McLaugh­lin, who is now at Gateshead, and we all moved in to­gether with a fam­ily in New­cas­tle,” he said. “The academy di­rec­tor at the time was Richard Money and he helped me a lot, but there were also peo­ple like Peter Beard­s­ley, Kenny Whar­ton and Peter Kirkley, who was the man who scouted me from North­ern Ire­land.

“The qual­ity of coach­ing and the fa­cil­i­ties we had there were out­stand­ing.You were only go­ing to im­prove as a player from that point.”

Fer­gu­son fol­lowed up a cou­ple of League Cup ap­pear­ances with a Premier League de­but against West Ham at St James’ s Park in Jan­uary 2011 but would go on to make a to­tal of only 32 ap­pear­ances in the black and white.

“It was a dream come true mak­ing my Premier League de­but,” he said.

“I never thought it would hap­pen for me but luck­ily I got my chance. It’s some­thing I’ll never for­get and I have some great mem­o­ries from there.

“I don’t re­gret a thing about mak­ing the big move from home. New­cas­tle is a mas­sive club, so they’re al­ways go­ing to make a lot of sign­ings, but if you’re not go­ing to get the game time you have to look else­where.”

Af­ter an in­jury ham­pered a loan spell north of the bor­der at Rangers dur­ing the 2014-15 cam­paign, Fer­gu­son joined Mill­wall just be­fore this sea­son’s opener against Shrews­bury and be­came a reg­u­lar starter in Har­ris’ team.

With game time needed to im­prove his chances of be­ing se­lected for North­ern Ire­land in the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships, winger Fer­gu­son, capped 22 times, is ex­pect­ing a bumpy ride when they get to France. He adds: “I don’t want to get com­pla­cent and say I’ll be in the squad, so I’ll keep im­press­ing as much as I can.

“Ukraine, Poland and es­pe­cially Ger­many will be in­cred­i­bly tough, but I think that’s what we wanted.

“We’ve come a long way and beaten a lot of good teams to get here.We are just look­ing for­ward to the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

EURO HOPE: Shane Fer­gu­son play­ing in qual­i­fiers against the Faroes and Fin­land TOON TRIO: Fer­gu­son was one of three North­ern Ir­ish boys to join New­cas­tle when he was 15 LIFE WITH LIONS: Shane Fer­gu­son is de­lighted his stay at Mill­wall has been ex­tended

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