Dunfermline Athletic

From West Glamorgan to West Fife

Saturday, 9th Feb 2019

Ryan Blair’s first interview - “Down at Swansea I am played as the designated defensive midfielder.”

With Ryan Blair arriving on loan from Swansea City it means that he is back under the watchful eye of Stevie Crawford. Ryan was a 15 year old with Falkirk when Stevie joined Steven Presley’s management team in October 2011 and was 18 when Stevie moved on to join up with Robbie Neilson at Hearts from May 2014. Ryan told this website:-

“I have worked with him before. I was at Falkirk, came through the youth teams and broke into the first team. As soon as I was playing in the first team there was interest from Swansea.

“I have been at Swansea for three years and it has been really good. In my first full season we won the double and got to the semi final of the International Cup. We basically beat everybody in England but lost to Porto. That was a good experience.

“I did pre season with the first team and this season I have been training with the first team. But since I have been down there I think there have been six different managers. When a new manager comes in there is a clean slate but six months later it all changes again. That makes it hard.”

Ryan has not yet made a first team appearance for Swansea but featured in their Under 23 team. They are category 1 playing against all the top clubs.

“Down at Swansea I am played as the designated defensive midfielder. I will just sit there and allow other players to do their thing. I don’t score many but when I do they are usually good ones.

“My best position is anywhere in centre midfield and am more of a holding midfielder. I am left footed, like to get on the ball, taking the game by the scruff of the neck and dictating play.

“I have only been here a few days but the training this week with no game at the weekend, has been hard. Mostly ball work, possession football and then small sided games. You do a few more runs but that’s because there is no game and you need to keep conditioned.

“I have been really impressed with the standard of training. It is a bit different from down south where they have all the facilities. That is just the different football world.

“The standard has been really good, I have been really impressed with them. It is competitive and it is good for the under twenties to be in training with first team boys, it is an experience.”

Ryan played alongside Louis Longridge last season when making eight appearances while on loan back to Falkirk. He also knows Ryan Williamson from when the two of them were really young at Celtic. The welcome from his new team mates has been warm and the 22 year old explained his arrival last Saturday:-

“My first day was the game and when I got on they were helpful. I didn’t know what way they liked to play.”

Ryan replaced other debut boy, Bruce Anderson 73 minutes into Saturday’s Championship match against Ross County. He continued:-

“Hopefully I will be in the squad for next Saturday’s game. I am looking forward to it, it is another home game and I will be pushing for a starting place. If not then hopefully I can make an impact off the bench.”

Obviously players want to be playing games but for new arrivals Ryan Blair and Bruce Anderson the free week is an opportunity for them get to know their new team mates a bit better:-

“It could be a good thing for me and Bruce that there is not a game this weekend. It gives us a bit of time to come in, learn what the gaffer wants the team to do and get used to that.”

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