This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
West Brom manager Slaven Bilic does not seem afraid to give youth a chance after 18-year-old right-back Nathan Ferguson started the Baggies’ first two Championship fixtures of the season, impressing considerably in both.
The youngster played pre-dominantly for the U23’s last season, but following the arrival of Bilic has been given his chance in the first team and has grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
So can you see Ferguson being the next big breakthrough star at the Baggies?
“I don’t see why not.
“Ferguson looks to have all the characteristics to thrive in the Championship and he has made a fantastic start to the season.
“He was excellent against Nottingham Forest in the season opener and followed that up with a solid performance against Millwall.
“With Darnell Furlong his only competition, I think he is set to see some significant game time this season.
“If he can continue to produce performances at the level he has so far then this could be a big year for the 18-year-old.”
“He has shown so far that he has all the attributes, mentally and physically, to break into Slaven Bilic’s team on a regular basis, and if he doesn’t start then he should provide valuable competition to the likes of Darnell Furlong.
“Interestingly, he came through the same club as a youngster as Saido Berahino – Phoenix United – and if he is as talented as the striker then he should have a great future ahead of him, as long as he can show a better mindset.
“He is athletic and has a good understanding of the game already which is perhaps his most impressive asset. If he can improve his awareness and positioning when going forward then he could develop into an even more effective full-back.
“He is also able to play at centre-back and that versatility will be appreciated by Bilic, and the next few years of his development will be interesting to see what role he is best suited to.”
“There’s a few at Albion that are really impressing me at the moment; Ferguson and Rekeem Harper, whilst I can see someone like Sam Field benefiting from a loan spell.
“Ferguson, though, looks to be at the forefront of Bilic’s first-team plans, which is really exciting for the Albion fans.
“He offers a youthful energy down the right, and the fact a boss like Bilic has had so much faith in him is a show of just how good he might be.
“Consistently doing what he’s doing will only increase the optimism and lead fans to believe they’ve a real gem on their hands.”