Doncaster Rovers: Why Ferguson is such a fan of Beestin
Try as he might to avoid talking up the qualities of Alfie Beestin, Darren Ferguson cannot help but wax lyrical about the Doncaster Rovers starlet.
And it is hard to blame him given Beestin is enjoying an excellent season for Rovers, having firmly established himself as a regular over the last few months.
Though injury threatened to disrupt his run in the side, the 20-year-old returned off the bench for the final half hour of last Monday’s win over Bradford City.
And he produced a stunning pass to set up John Marquis for the game-killing second goal in added time.
The youngster’s technical quality was quickly evident after he was snapped up from Tadcaster Albion a little over 18 months ago.
But in recent months he has shown composure, toughness and maturity to suggest he could have a very bright future.
And that is enough for Ferguson to suggest he is one of the best players he has worked with during his managerial career.
Even if the Rovers boss is determined not to big up the forward too much.
“I don’t want to build the boy up too much but he can certainly play at a higher level than this,” Ferguson told The Star.
“He is a player, that boy.
“I think he’s definitely up there with one of the better ones that I’ve had.
“With Beestin I think he’s just got that bit of sparkle, that little bit of magic.
“I could see next season being a very big one for him.”
Beestin’s confidence in possession is excellent and he will look to get on the ball as much as possible, particularly in advanced areas of the pitch.
Ferguson says he recognised that quickly and felt there was genuine potential in the youngster, even if there was plenty of work to be done to get him up to speed.
It was Beestin’s debut goal – a superb finish from 20 yards in last season’s Checkatrade Trophy win at Mansfield Town – that affirmed to Ferguson he had made the right decision to sign him.
“We brought him in for a trial, a week to have a look at him,” he said.
“You could see quickly that there was something but he had to grow physically. We had to do a lot of work with him in the gym, with the fitness guys.
“But he’s definitely got the temperament.
“He came on against Bradford and said just give me the ball. I like that in a player.
“You can just never tell with the young players. You don’t know how quickly they can go.
“Once they get that confidence, but also once they get the respect of their peers ... that’s probably a bigger thing.
“It’s okay a manager saying something but when their teammates are giving them the ball all the time like we’ve seen over the last few games ...
“They like him as a player and that brings it own confidence. He’s got the temperament and the ability and it’s just about keep progressing him as much as we can.”
A heavy clash with Rotherham United’s Richard Wood in February looked to have potentially ended Beestin’s season early.
But the Leeds-born ace made a rapid recovery and due to fixture postponements, missed only one game.
And he did not shirk a very similar collision on his return against Bradford.
“He’s tough,” Ferguson said.
“Going to Scunthorpe on a Tuesday night I can remember him taking kicks and knocks off their centre halves Wallace and Burgess.
“He took them and said: ‘Come on, I’ll have another one.’
“He’s a tough boy, there’s no doubt about it. He comes from a tough place in Leeds.”
With the youngster in such impressive and promising form, Ferguson cannot escape being asked about his qualities.
“He’s played in different positions, he’s got lovely balance, and he’s getting stronger and stronger,” he said.
“He’s actually not slow, he’s quite quick off the mark.
“Let’s not build him up too much.”
That might be easier said than done.