Pic: David Loveday
THIS time last year, David Ferguson was without a club having been released by Blackpool and unsure which way to turn.
Fast-forward 12 months and the 22-year-old defender has made it into an England shirt, via Shildon and Darlington.
It’s the latest tick for the determined attacking left-back as he aims to keep forging his way back into the Football League.
Ferguson’s CV makes for impressive reading. He’s played, and scored, in the Championship for the Seasiders and was announced as captain live on Sky Sports ahead of their League One campaign.
But it’s been an unstable time in the north-west and Ferguson found himself discarded following their relegation.
Needing somewhere to play, he joined Northern League Shildon for six months at the start of last season before National League North Darlington came calling in January.
“I wouldn’t have thought I’d be putting an England shirt on in nine or ten months’ time, no chance,” Ferguson said, when asked about starting last season in Step 5.
“England C is a great stepping stone and I can use this call-up. I’m sure people have been watching. I want to get back to where I was and push on.
“I know I’m good enough. I’m not saying I’m too good for the league I’m playing in, but I know my ability. I believe in myself that I should be where I was last season (2015-16).
“I know I’m a good player and hopefully when people watch they can see that. I like to do my talking on the pitch and let people see where I should be.
“I didn’t have a pre-season last year and I was stuck in the dark a bit. Off my own back I sorted it out. I hadn’t played for a certain amount of months and I just thought, ‘I need games somewhere’.
“So I started back at Shildon. They looked after us well, Darlington have as well. I’ve got another year with an option so we’ll see what the future holds.”
Ferguson has another season left on his Darlo contract, with the club then holding an option.
Although banned from playing in the play-offs for not meeting ground grading regulations, on the pitch it was a good first season at Step 2 for the Quakers. And Ferguson says the environment created by boss Martin Gray has helped his performances.
“They’ve just let me play my game,” he said. “I’m an attacking player and they let me fulfil that. Martin Gray has done that, he’s a good manager, and he lets me play with freedom.
“There are some good, experienced, players at Darlington. They always say to me, ‘Just go and express yourself’. They let me play my game and that’s an attacking full-back. I’m still young.
“The games I’ve played at a young age, the stuff I’ve been through at a young age, it’s matured me even more.
“I’ve played ten games in the Championship, 30 games in League One so there’s lots on my CV. But that’s football. You have your ups and downs. Now I’ve had my down, the only way is up.
“I’ve had the massive high of captaining Blackpool and then a dip in my career. But I know how to deal with stuff better now.
“There are things I would have done differently now if I was like I am now last year. You learn.”