TALENTED York City teenager Fergus McAughtrie has admitted he was considering a switch to part-time football despite interest from Championship clubs and Scotland over the summer.

McAughtrie, 18, was invited for a number of trials following his release from Sunderland at the end of last season, but the ex-Archbishop Holgate School pupil was still a free agent when approached by his home-town club last month.

He went on to train with then youth-team manager Sam Collins’ under-19s but, following the latter’s promotion to caretaker boss, was called up for a shock senior debut in last Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Brackley.

McAughtrie had previously been on City’s books at primary school age. He was also part of the first-ever Archbishops Holgate team to complete the treble of York & District League championship, County Cup and League Cup, scoring a last-minute free kick in the final of the latter as the Year Eight side completed the historic hat-trick.

On the circuitous journey that has taken him back to his dad Dave’s old club, McAughtrie said: “I was part of Colin Sanderson’s development shadow squad here at the age of six when we used to play little five-a-sides, but then I had five years at Leeds before going to Sunderland, where I got released in the summer. I then went on trial with Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley.

“I also went to Dundee United for two weeks and nothing happened there. I really enjoyed it though.

“It was difficult being away from the family, but I played men’s football and the training was really hard, so it was good experience and it prepared me for coming to York City and competing with older players. After Scotland, I still wanted to play football, but I was looking to go part-time because nothing was coming up.

“Then, I got a call from (former York City manager) Martin Gray and he told me to get my bum off my bed and come and train here. I told myself: ‘This is the last opportunity to try and play full-time football,’ so I’ve given 100 per cent and it’s worked out.

“All the clubs I went to before York said I’d done well, but I never quite got that bit of luck you need finding somebody to believe in you and that’s why I’m grateful to the gaffer here because he has given me a chance, which is what young players need. I wasn’t expecting to play for my local club this season, but I’m happy that I am and I didn’t realise how good the fans were here either, because loads went to Brackley.”

On his reaction to that senior call-up, McAughtrie confessed: “It was a weird one. After training on the Friday, the squad was named and I hadn’t expected to be in it.

“Then, the manager told me I was starting, and it was a dream come true. Knowing that I’d be making my debut for my local team was a really, proud moment for me and my family.”

McAughtrie’s father played for City in 1985/86 and 1986/87 under Denis Smith, having previously gained top-flight experience with Stoke.

Previous Minstermen father-and-son duos have experienced mixed fortunes, as the McAughtries follow in the footsteps of Ian and Martin Butler, Alan and Neil Woods, Bobby and Josh Mimms and Peter and George Swan.

McAughtrie junior, though, is determined to honour the family name, adding: “My dad was as surprised as me when I told him I’d be making my debut and. He didn’t believe me at all and thought I was joking, but people remember him as a good player here and I want to carry on from that.

“People think he pushes me because he’s been a footballer, but he doesn’t at all. He lets me do what I feel is right, but he’s my biggest idol in life, because he’s been a professional footballer and, if there’s something I’m concerned about, I can go to him and he will help me.

“Before my debut, he told me that, when he was in my shoes, the manager told him to express himself. He just said that I should enjoy the moment, play with no pressure and keep my head up.”

McAughtrie is also focussing now on coping better with the physical demands of sixth-tier football, having left the field at Brackley with a bust nose and so tired that he could not play against Blyth 48 hours later.

“I got an accidental elbow in the nose and it wouldn’t stop bleeding,” he said of his painful introduction to the non-League game. “I had stuff shoved up both nostrils and it was hard to breath, but that’s what you get in your first game of proper men’s football.

“At Sunderland, I was playing lads my age and it’s not realistic football. It wasn’t getting any stronger and, while my first 45 minutes was alright at Brackley, I started tiring because I was playing against fully-grown men and my body hasn’t fully developed yet, but I will keep improving with games.

“I was hoping to play on Monday because I can’t wait to play at Bootham Crescent, but the gaffer said he wanted to rest me.”

McAughtrie is revelling in his new attacking role, meanwhile, after Collins spotted the potential for him to operate further up the pitch than the full-back position he has previously filled.

“I came here as a left-back and I played there and on the left wing for Sam in the under-19s,” McAughtire pointed out. “But I played better further forward and he’s tried to turn me into a winger.

“I used to think I was a left back, but I’m starting to know the game a bit more now and I enjoy playing left wing and having a bit more attacking freedom, even though I’ll still play left back if needed. At full-back, you have to be up and down the pitch so that helps with your fitness and doing the defensive side of things.”

With his father a mentor off the field, a City player old enough to be his dad and who made his professional debut the year before McAughtrie was born in 2000 has also assumed that role on the pitch

“Jon Parkin was the first to come and congratulate me at the final whistle against Brackley,” McAughtrie revealed. “He and Simon Heslop are obviously experienced players, but they’ve been where I am and they’ve just told me to relax and enjoy myself.”