SHANE Ferguson is living the dream at Newcastle United – and loving every minute of his breakthrough season.
The 19-year-old made his second Premier League start for the club in Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Chelsea.
Handed a start on the left wing by injury-hit Alan Pardew, Ferguson belied his age with a convincing performance before his withdrawal in the second half with an injury.
Ferguson – who took a knock to his right leg at Stamford Bridge – is confident he’ll be fit for Sunday’s season finale against West Bromwich Albion at St James’s Park.
Pardew, without several key midfielders, could again turn to Ferguson, who said: “I had a little knock, so I came off. It should be OK for the weekend.”
Reflecting on the game, which saw Steven Taylor claim a point with a dramatic injury-time equaliser, Ferguson went on: “I loved every minute of it.
“I love playing at stadiums like Stamford Bridge – it’s a dream come true, really.
“If you’d asked me at the start of the season if I’d be where I am now, I’d never have dreamt it. It’s just brilliant – I’m loving every minute of it.”
Ferguson also starred in Newcastle’s Carling Cup win at Stamford Bridge early in the season, swinging in a ball from the left for Nile Ranger’s goal.
On the eve of United’s return to West London, Pardew revealed Ferguson was in his thoughts with Kevin Nolan and Cheik Tiote’s absence prompting a midfield reshuffle.
However, Ferguson – who had previously deputised for Jose Enrique at left-back – was still taken aback to learn he was to start against Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
And Ferguson was full of praise for his team-mates, who gamely came from behind twice against last season’s Premier League champions.
“It was unbelievable,” admitted Ferguson. “I found out Saturday I was going to be involved in the team, and everyone was up for it in the changing room before the match.”
Alan Pardew has called on his depleted band of players to end the season in fitting style at St James’s Park.
Newcastle United wrap up their season against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday with a top-10 Premier League finish still a realistic possibility.
A win could see Pardew’s side, lying 12th after their draw at Chelsea, finish as high as ninth, which would be a remarkable achievement for a newly-promoted club.
“It’s there for us,” said Pardew, whose squad has been decimated by injuries in recent months.
“One win and we could be in the top 10. Hopefully, we can get the place revved up to see out the season.
“It’s the end of what has been a magnificent season from my point of view.”
Pardew is hopeful that there will be a full house at St James’s Park.