Will Evans: Newport County's record-breaker went from the farm to the Football League in 18 months

From 12 hour shifts on the family's Llangedwyn farm, to years honing his craft in the Welsh leagues, Evans spoke to ITV Wales about how fast life has changed. Credit: PA / ITV Cymru Wales

In the space of 18 months, Will Evans has gone from working on his dad's farm in mid-Wales to becoming the first player from any of the 92 league clubs in English football to reach 10 goals this year.

Despite Newport County's mixed start to the season, he's been a shining light out of Rodney Parade with a story unlike many others.

From 12-hour shifts on the family's Llangedwyn farm to years spent honing his craft in the Welsh leagues, Evans spoke to ITV Wales about how fast life has changed.

"Eighteen months ago I was working at home with my old man. Now I'm League Two's top goalscorer," Evans said.

The boyish smile that follows the realisation of the 26-year-old's impressive achievement shows just how far he's come in such a short space of time, even he can't believe it.

Born and raised in Llangedwyn, Montgomeryshire, Evans grew up on the family farm and although professional football was always the dream, there weren't many examples to follow, so helping out his dad in the fields became the immediate priority.

On Friday 20 October Will Evans became the first player in the top 4 leagues of English football to 10 goals when he scored against Walsall. Credit: PA

After getting into Cardiff Metropolitan University, Evans began playing for their football team in the Cymru Premier, the highest tier of Welsh football. Having impressed over four years at university Evans moved to fellow Cymru Premier team, Bala Town.

Wales' national football league has faced criticism due to its lack of competitiveness and quality of football, but Evans insists that things are changing.

He said: "Five players at Newport are all from the Welsh Prem. People comment on the standard but you look at teams like TNS (The New Saints F.C.) they play in the Champions League, the pinnacle of club football.

"Yes it's the qualifying rounds but you're playing in the best domestic competition you can. I wouldn't be here sitting talking to you about my time at Newport if I hadn't gone through the system of the Cymru Premier. I genuinely think in the next few years there'll be more and more players coming from the Welsh Prem to professional football."

Evans (right) playing for Bala Town in the Cymru Premier. Credit: PA

In May 2022, Evans was given an opportunity to fulfil a life-long dream when Newport County signed him.

Describing it as a "whirlwind period", Evans said the rigours of professional football took a while to get used to, especially for his dad.

"During my first pre-season, after one of the training sessions my dad called me after training and asked if I could help out at the farm, I was thinking what is going on. I found it quite funny because it was all very new to me as-well as for them," he said.

Evans has scored 12 goals in all competitions so far this year. Credit: PA

After a year and a half in South Wales, Evans has taken his opportunity and ran with it. A solid debut year saw him being deployed as a wing-back before being given a chance further up the field this year, a move that has reaped rewards for both Evans and Newport.

"In pre-season and the first two games of the season, I was starting at left-wing back, it's crazy. To score 10 league goals, 12 in all competitions, in the first quarter of the season, I would've bitten your hand off," he said.

High up on Evans' to-do list is to help push The Exiles up the table, but despite his team's recent struggle in form, the 26-year-old is well aware of the fortunate position he's found himself in.

"As a kid it was always a dream to be a pro footballer and I hope people can see that you can still make it happen at the age of 24," he said.

Evans highlights the support that he and his teammates receive every week from the Newport fans as a constant reminder of just how fast his life has changed.

He said: "When that place is bouncing it gives you goosebumps. The fans are the reason the club exist.

"They come in their numbers, people work so hard in the week to come and watch you play on the weekend, so for me, it's a bare minimum that you've got to give everything for the 90 minutes that they're there."

After spending so many years chasing a dream, Evans says he still can't get his head around being noticed for doing something he's always done.

He recalls a recent situation after he had issues with his car: "My car broke down and a recovery company took it in and I had to leave my phone number.

"The person in the garage rang me up and asked if I was Will Evans who plays for Newport. He said he was a massive fan, and told me to leave his car with him and that he'll sort it out as fast as possible, all he asked was for me to get a picture with his son. I couldn't believe it!"

With a smile on his face, and disbelief in his voice, Evans says: "If you saw me 18 months ago, I'm a nobody."

After a lifetime of dreaming on a farm in Powys, with every goal that goes in, Newport's new nobody is quickly becoming somebody.

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