Will Evans to graft after trading his farm for Newport County

WILL Evans isn’t afraid of trying hard in a bid to prove his pedigree at Newport County AFC after trading the farm for the Football League.

The 25-year-old made his Ligue 2 debut for the Exiles in the 1-1 draw at Sutton United on Saturday, playing the full match as a left-back.

Evans signed for County in the summer after rising to prominence as a striker in the Cymru Premier with Bala.

He had previously played for Cardiff Met while studying in the capital, but it was on the family farm in mid Wales that the work ethic evident on the football pitch developed.

The Evans’s have a herd of 800 dairy cows, 2,000 cattle in total plus poultry; Lounge life has been put on hold while chasing the county dream, but the Football League newcomer is still more Massey Ferguson than Mercedes.

MIXING IT: Will Evans set to county debut

“I’m a dairy farmer by trade,” he says. “Normally you’re up at 4.30am, milking until 10am, then you have other work to do and you come home at 1pm, then in the evenings at 9pm. You don’t normally do all three in a row but I know how to graft, let’s put it like that!

“It was a good thing and made me humble, my mum and dad always said if you work hard it will take you far.

“I had a little break this year and I don’t want this chance to pass me by, I want it to count.”

Evans earned a shot as an EFL pro after signing a two-year deal in time to play a full role in pre-season alongside veteran campaigners such as Mickey Demetriou, Matty Dolan, Robbie Willmott and Aaron Wildig.

“I trained once a week with Bala,” he said. “I got into football full time and it took a toll on me physically and mentally and you have to be there every day.

“It’s really like going back to school, making new friends, fitting in with new people, and then you get used to it.

“The gaffer and all the staff have been welcoming, the players have been as good as gold with me and obviously it’s a step up. I’m enjoying every minute of it and hope it continues.

“It’s starting to get a little bit that I’m a professional footballer and I love that every minute. The standards are high from the gaffer and his team, as the players expect it from each other.

Early signs are promising with Evans forcing his way into the starting lineup for the opener at Gander Green Lane.

“I certainly saw the step up from the Welsh leagues but I knew it would be a big leap,” said the new boy, who is hoping to keep his place for Rodney Parade’s debut against Walsall on Saturday.

“I am delighted to finally start in the Football League, something no one can take away from me now.

“I got a lot of lovely messages after checking my phone shortly after the game and it was very humbling.

“Had we got the three points it would have been the icing on the cake, but I was thrilled personally and as a team I think it was a good point.”

Evans was signed primarily as a striker but received the nod on the left at Sutton, with his winning physical selection ahead of Aaron Lewis and Liverpool loanee Adam Lewis.

The Wales C international’s versatility should see him rack up appearances in 2022/23.

“When I was at Bala I was more of a left-winger so it was a role that suited me, but I just have to adapt it to improve my defensive work,” he said.

“Over the years I’ve played in different positions but obviously it’s a different role for me. I’m in pretty good shape, I can go up and down so it really suits me.

“I have to work on a few things defensively – one guy took the nutmeg from me at Sutton so the next one went up in the air! – but it is a position that I appreciate.

“I played in a variety of positions in midfield, on the wing and up top, while playing left-back in my youth at Shrewsbury Town. It’s something I know, but it’s a bit more demanding because you have ups and downs.

“I arrived as a striker and there may be times this season when I play as a striker, but I’m just happy to play minutes and contribute to the team.

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