Newport striker Will Evans has gone from milking cows on the household farm to scoring FA Cup targets – and now has boyhood heroes Manchester United in his sights.
United fan Evans meets the Red Devils on Sunday as Newport – 74 locations under their guests within the soccer pyramid and monetary worlds aside – search to provide one of many largest upsets within the competitors’s 152-year historical past.
It will cap a rare journey that has taken Evans from the Powys household farm, rejection at Shrewsbury, and European soccer at two Welsh Premiership golf equipment earlier than he lastly landed his EFL break at Newport.
“Most kids come home from school and play football in the garden,” Evans mentioned of his adolescence on the Llangedwyn farm on the English-Welsh border close to Oswestry.
“I’d come home and get the cows ready to be milked. There’s a lot of them too as dad’s got about 1,100 milking cows.
“Mucking out was punishment if I was misbehaving or in my parents’ bad books. It wasn’t something I ever wanted to do, I always wanted to study or go out and play football.”
While brothers James and Josh would find yourself becoming a member of the household enterprise, Evans began out on a soccer path that noticed him spend six years at Shrewsbury’s youth system between the ages of 9 and 15.
Evans was ultimately launched by Shrewsbury and went to Cardiff Metropolitan University, learning a level in sports activities teaching and enjoying within the Europa League.
He spent 5 years in Cardiff earlier than the Covid pandemic struck in 2020 and returned to life on the farm, becoming a member of close by Bala when soccer restarted and once more enjoying in Europe.
Two targets in a 4-0 victory for Wales C towards England ultimately launched his profession.
“The dream died after leaving Shrewsbury, it was basically a reset,” mentioned Evans, now 26.
“But going to Uni allowed me to fall in love with football again. I did well in Cardiff and at Bala, but after that Wales C game my phone was constantly ringing.
“I had calls from agents all over Europe – I don’t how people got my number – but then James Rowberry, the Newport manager, rang me and said ‘Are you free to come down tomorrow?’
“He said he thought I could fit into their system and it’s been an amazing 18 months.”
Evans was signed as a central striker however typically deployed as a wing-back throughout his first season at Newport.
Since reverting to his customary ahead position has scored 18 targets this time period, together with one within the third-round replay win at Eastleigh that secured County’s £400,000 pay day towards United.
Current Exiles boss Graham Coughlan has insisted Evans’ kind deserves a name as much as Rob Page’s Wales squad.
“I would have bitten your hand off to be in this position 18 months ago,” Evans mentioned.
“I’m a massive United fan and used to go there a lot when I was a kid.
“I’ve got some really fond memories of going to Old Trafford and I’m a good friend of Eric Ramsay (United assistant manager).
“I can’t put into words what it will be like walking out to play against them.
“I’m just enjoying my football right now and don’t know what will happen in the future. But I’m not going back to the farm. It’s not happening.”