We’ll protect Shevlin, insists United boss Ferguson

Matthew Shevlin is brought down by Warrenpoint Town's Stephen Moan, resulting in the defender being sent off for a second booking in Ballymena United's 2-1 win at Millton on Saturday. Picture: Press Eye.
Matthew Shevlin is brought down by Warrenpoint Town's Stephen Moan, resulting in the defender being sent off for a second booking in Ballymena United's 2-1 win at Millton on Saturday. Picture: Press Eye.

Glenn Ferguson insists that Ballymena United will protect starlet Matthew Shevlin from burnout as interest grows in the teenager.

With Crystal Palace’s intimated bid having not yet materialised, the 16-year-old striker is on trial this week with League One side Sheffield United.

“We hope the trial at Sheffield United goes well for him but after that we might have to curtail his travel,” Ferguson told Times Sport

“He’s 16 years of age, he’s getting tired and next week he goes away to Iceland with the Northern Ireland under-19s which means more travel for him.

“Ultimately, at this time he is a Ballymena United player and we have to look after him as best as possible.

“If and when the opportunity comes for him to go across the water, we will send him with our blessing.

“He will get an opportunity at some stage but we will manage that as best we can until that happens.

“There is a lot of interest being shown - again at Warrenpoint on Saturday, you could see scouts from other clubs so there are a few others interested.

“He didn’t do himself any harm, he worked his socks off and although he didn’t get the goal his performance deserved.

“He’s handling the whole thing very, very well.

“He’s a level headed lad who keeps his feet firmly on the ground.

“I try to talk to him as much as possible as does Wes (Lamont, United’s goalkeeping coach and Shevlin’s uncle) and we try to keep everything low-key.

“We’ve brought (agent) Steven Whelan in to look after him and he is doing exactly the same thing.

“Some 16 year olds might go pie in the sky when they get all this attention but Matthew has been great about it,” added Ferguson.