From Farm to FA Cup: Will Evans Extraordinary Journey from Rural Wales to Facing Manchester United

In a narrative that resonates with the spirit of football dreams, Will Evans, a former farmhand from rural mid-Wales, is on the brink of playing against his childhood club, Manchester United, in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Evans’ extraordinary journey, from the early mornings on his father’s farm to the grand stage of professional football, adds a unique and inspiring chapter to this upcoming clash.

Evans, now a 26-year-old striker for Newport County, used to rise at 4:30 am to work on the family farm, finding solace in thoughts of Manchester United during the cold, dark mornings. On Sunday, his alarm clock will chime a bit later as he prepares to face United in what has been touted as the biggest match in Newport’s history. The League Two side’s home ground, Rodney Parade, is sold out, promising a spectacle that will captivate millions on television.

Despite his farming background and a route to professional football that wasn’t conventional, Evans has found himself on the cusp of playing against Premier League royalty. The juxtaposition of the milking parlor and the grandeur of the FA Cup clash encapsulates the uniqueness of his journey.

“I’ve dreamed of this moment all my life. To play against the team I’ve supported all my life would be incredible, and to be this close to that game is special,” expresses Evans, reflecting on the surreal nature of the occasion.

From playing for the local village team Llangedwyn, where farmers would turn up in wellies covered in manure, to enrolling at Cardiff Metropolitan University and eventually making a mark with Bala Town, Evans’ footballing journey has been far from ordinary. His performances for Wales C against England C in March 2022 caught the eye, leading Newport County to sign him as a full-time pro.

While Evans spent his first season with Newport playing as a left wing-back, it’s the current campaign that has seen him shine as a striker. With 18 goals in 36 games, Evans has attracted attention from other clubs, but he remains focused on Newport, emphasizing that transfer speculation isn’t something he gets caught up in.

As he prepares to face Manchester United, Evans acknowledges the excitement of the occasion: “To think Manchester United will step out on the same pitch as us is surreal.” While maintaining the mindset to play the game and not the occasion, the sheer presence of Manchester United in town makes it hard not to get excited, he adds.

Will Evans’ journey from the farm to the FA Cup exemplifies the magic and diversity within football, where dreams can come true on the pitch. The clash against Manchester United promises to be a defining moment in Evans’ career, highlighting how far he has come from those early mornings on the Welsh farm.