Embed from Getty Images

Newport County Striker Will Evans Hopes To Test Friendship With Manchester United’s Eric Ramsay


By Graham Thomas

Will Evans will try his utmost to embarrass Eric Ramsay on Sunday – 18 months after the Newport County striker was a guest at the Manchester United assistant manager’s wedding.

Evans will be County’s main hope of goals and a creative spark that might ignite one of the great FA Cup shocks of all-time, although perhaps not as big a surprise for those United fans who have long since grown used to seeing their team lose at places they shouldn’t.

If the 26-year-old does manage to add to his club’s storied history of Cup upsets, then it will cap a remarkable rise for Evans and perhaps put something of a strain on his relationship with Erik ten Hag’s number two.

“I’ve known Eric since we were kids and I was at his wedding when I was still playing for Bala Town in the Cymru Premier,” said Evans.

“If you had told me then that I would soon be playing against Manchester United as a full-time pro then I would have laughed you out of the room.

“But here I am, living the dream and it’s a real pinch-me moment and the most exciting football match of my life.”

Evans got to know Ramsay, 32, through Evans’ older brother, Jimmy, as the pair were school friends in the village of Llangedwyn in Powys.

“They were in a group of lads called the Drama Block Crew because they used to hang out around the drama block at school.

“We have always stayed in touch and when I moved from Bala to Newport, he was really encouraging with messages to me, checking on how I was getting on.

“I’ve had a few messages from Eric this week – a bit of back and fore – but I’m not sure what will happen if we got a result.”

Evans is himself a United fan and used to follow the club as a child, so the chance to play against them – and against Premier League opposition for the first time – is one he will savour.

Nor will the fact that a defeat would put further intense pressure on both ten Hag and Ramsay stop him from trying to further accelerate his own ambitions and make up for lost time.

“When I was a kid playing in the garden then I used to imagine I was Cristiano Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney.

“United were the team to beat back then, but they have had not just a difficult year or two, but a difficult nine or 10 years.

“But it’s easy for people to look at them and say they’re not what they were. They are still Manchester United, they still have some amazing players and for us to get anything at all out of this game we will need a lot of luck.”

Evans was with Shrewsbury as a youngster but it has taken success and goals with Cardiff Met University and then Bala before his professional career finally took off when he moved to League Two Newport in the summer of 2022.

“I know I am late into this. I am not a 20-year-old kid, so I play every match as if it might be my last one and Sunday will be no different.”

Last summer, Newport lost key players because of financial restraints and registered a record loss of £1.2m, but the visit of Manchester United will bring in a £400,000 windfall.

“It was a turbulent summer, but I think we’ve put together a really good group of lads and staff and gone from strength to strength,” said Newport’s manager, Graham Coughlan.

“We’re in a good place, but we’ve come through many a storm to get here.”

Liverpool loanee Adam Lewis has been flooded with messages to send United out of the FA Cup and says he has been in contact with “good mate” Mason Mount about it.

Left-back Lewis is in his second temporary spell at Newport and will be thrust into the spotlight on Sunday.

Ever since Newport eased past Eastleigh in their third-round replay, Lewis says his phone has not stopped pinging with messages from his native Merseyside insisting Liverpool’s bitter rivals are dumped out of the cup.

“I’ve had tons of messages this week saying ‘Get stuck into them’ and make sure you win,” said the 24-year-old, who has had previous loan spells at Livingston, Plymouth and Amiens in France.

“I’m just waiting for one off the boss (Jurgen Klopp) now, he might drop me one hopefully before Sunday.

“I’ve played with (United midfielder) Mason Mount a lot at international level with England, from the under-16s through to the under-19s.

“He’s a good mate of mine and I spoke to him the other day to see if he was playing. I was trying to get some inside information, but he wasn’t giving me any.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *