The Monday Profile: Jimmy Ryan
Whilst Accrington’s season has thus far been middling — 17th place and no away wins yet this term suggest that a repeat of the past two seasons’ mid-table finishes looks the best the team can expect, Ryan has personally enjoyed a superb start to the campaign, scoring five goals already, including four in his last six games. Known primarily for his long-range efforts, Ryan continued his good form with a 25-yard free kick in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Southend. After showing glimpses of his ability in the two seasons he has spent with Stanley thus far, the 22-year-old Ryan now seems to be finding the consistency to match his underlying talent. A good performance in the club’s 2-3 defeat to Newcastle in the League Cup in August further underlined his potential to play at a higher level.
A Youth Cup winner with Liverpool as a trainee, it is good to see a young player go out and play first-team football elsewhere instead of languishing in the reserves at a Premiership club for years in the hope of a few fleeting appearances, as other players have chosen to do. Ryan has showed impressive mental strength to come back from a couple of setbacks, most noticeably his release from Shrewsbury in 2008. A trial at Accrington followed and Ryan impressed enough to win a contract, from whence he has gone from strength to strength. A call-up for the Republic of Ireland Under 21 squad followed in October of that year, since when Ryan has steadily worked at and improved his game, resulting in this season’s impressive form. Accrington, with the long-serving John Coleman at the helm, have established a reputation for polishing rough diamonds who have been overlooked elsewhere and selling them on for a profit. As one of the smaller clubs in the division attendance-wise, this is a very shrewd strategy indeed. Certainly Bobby Grant, who followed a similar path to Ryan, starting out at Liverpool before moving to Accrington before a £260,000 transfer to Scunthorpe in the summer, is a good role model to follow in this respect. If he can keep his current level of performance up, Ryan may well follow him up the divisions.