Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson has been hailed as the best box-to-box midfielder in the Premiership.
Dons striker Christian Ramirez reckons Ferguson is out front in the top flight as he brings a ‘Latin swagger’ to his play.
Ferguson broke into Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad this season.
The 22-year-old earned two caps in the World Cup qualifying group stage and is in contention for selection for the play-offs in March.
With seven goals this season, the midfielder is Aberdeen’s second highest scorer, behind Ramirez on 11.
Summer signing Ramirez, a United States international, has been blown away by Ferguson.
And he rates Fergie above other Premiership box-to-box stars like David Turnbull (Celtic), Joe Aribo (Rangers), Beni Baningime (Hearts), Jeando Fuchs (Dundee United) and Jamie McGrath (St Mirren).
Ramirez said: “Fergie is the best box-to-box midfielder in the league.
“He plays with a certain swagger that in Cali (California) is a Latin swagger.
“It’s obvious when you see him when he brings that kind of swagger on to the field – he has that confidence.”
GOAL! Aberdeen 1-1 Celtic (Ferguson, 56)
Lewis Ferguson equalises for Aberdeen – game on! ⚽
📺 Watch live on Sky Sports Football! pic.twitter.com/cLsiDeVlPW
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) October 3, 2021
Aberdeen rejected bid from Watford
Aberdeen rejected an offer of under £2 million for Ferguson from Premier League Watford in May.
Ferguson subsequently slapped in a transfer request when Aberdeen knocked back Watford’s approach.
That transfer request was immediately rejected by the Dons.
Contracted to the Dons until summer 2024, Ferguson has been an integral part of the Dons first-team since signing from Hamilton in summer 2018.
When Ferguson is fit and available, he starts. Of the 142 games he has played in all competitions for the Dons, he has started 141.
The only time Ferguson has been on the bench was the 2-1 League Cup loss to Raith Rovers in August.
A host of first team regular starters were rested for that cup tie with a Europa Conference League play-off tie against Qarabag in Azerbaijan looming days later.
Ferguson has forged a strong central midfield partnership with captain Scott Brown this term.
Ramirez said: “Fergie and Broony have been starting the build-ups.
“Overall it has been a good collective group the last couple of games.”
Pride in doing football’s ‘dirty things’
A 1-0 defeat of St Johnstone last weekend extended Aberdeen’s winning run to three games.
It is the first time the Dons have won three consecutive Premiership matches since September last year.
Aberdeen will bid to extend that wining streak when facing Hibs at Easter Road on Wednesday evening (7.45pm).
Newly-appointed Hibs manager Shaun Maloney, raised in the Granite City, will make his dugout debut on Wednesday.
Ramirez reckons the Dons’ revival in form is due to the team taking on the ‘dirty things’.
He said: “We are taking pride in doing the dirty things that maybe we were lacking a little bit early on in the season.
“Risking our bodies – You see defenders sliding and throwing their bodies in front of things to block shots.
“Then up the field we are making sure we are getting pressure on the ball and sacrificing that way so that we do make it difficult for teams to play.”
Second in Premiership scoring table
Ramirez sits second in the Premiership scoring charts, level with Kyogo Furuhashi of Celtic, on eight league goals.
Only Motherwell’s Tony Watt, on nine goals, has scored more in the Premiership this season.
Ramirez has also netted three times in Europe.
He said: “It’s always good to get on the scoresheet.
“However, I have been totally focused on winning – that’s the most important thing.”
Patience pays off for in-form Dons
Aberdeen have moved back into the Premiership top six following the return to winning form.
In an inconsistent season, the Reds experienced peaks and troughs.
A positive start to the campaign was followed by a 10-game run without victory.
That winless slump was followed by a seven-point return from a triple-header against Hibs, Rangers and Hearts in one week.
— Christian Ramirez (@Chris_Ramirez17) December 5, 2021
Aberdeen then lost three games before delivering the recent resurgence in form.
Ramirez insists he never lost faith Aberdeen would return to winning ways.
He said: “We stayed patient throughout the process and are reaping the rewards.
“We need to stay with the same energy defensively with the press and take care of set-pieces.
“The rest will take care of itself.”