City in Focus | Ryan Kavanagh delighted with return
Returning from a long‐term ACL injury to star for the U21 side in recent weeks, Ryan Kavanagh has been savouring each moment since stepping back onto the pitch.
We caught up with the midfielder as he looks ahead to kicking on in the New Year...
“It feels amazing to be back after all that time out," Ryan began. "It’s really good to be back on the pitch and to be involved again. After all that time, you kind of feel disjointed from the squad, but it’s nice to feel a part of it again and being back in love with the game.
“There are times when it’s frustrating, because you know that there’s still more to come from your performances even though you’re back on the pitch, and I know that there’s a lot more that I can give. Even since coming back initially I’m now much more comfortable and confident just getting back into the swing of things, but I know that I still want my body and mind to be properly on the same wavelength.
“I feel that my fitness has improved, and I’m probably running more now than I was before my injury! The most important thing right now is getting that match fitness in my legs and having those minutes. At the moment it’s all about building up and getting as many minutes as possible, and with that hopefully each game should get a little bit easier.
“The lads have been great to me throughout, and that applies to the First Team players as well. Sean Morrison was a big help to me when he was here, as he was going through a similar situation, and Jamilu Collins too. It was nice to be around people who were going through the same process of recovery, who knew what it looked like. Pursey and Blox have been really supportive; they’ve been top class with helping me back to match fitness. Our former Head of Medical in the Academy, Clare Briers, was also a massive influence in turning things around and helping me out, particularly when I got injured again during recovery.”
Gaining key minutes with the young Bluebirds, including a full 90 against Swansea City in a 3‐0 home win earlier this month, Ryan is now excited for the latter half of the season, whether he is playing in the U21 side or during a loan spell away from the Welsh capital.
Ryan continued: “I hadn’t played many games and hadn’t scored for about two years, but it was nice to get a goal against Charlton Athletic. It’s quite funny, as before the match I was telling myself that if we won a penalty, then I was going to take it. Then, when James Crole was fouled, I claimed it and put it away, which felt good. Obviously at U21 level the matches are more about development than the result, but it felt good to be back in the stride of things.
“Playing against Swansea City, it was one that I massively wanted to be involved in. Being a Cardiff boy means that I’ve known what the South Wales derby looks like ever since I was young. It’s always meant something, it does for the other boys in the team as well, and it was another chance for me to build personally.
“I feel that I’ve always been the type of player who doesn’t mind running. I like the hard work and don’t mind putting in a tackle, it’s part of my game and just the way that I play.
“The aim now is to get as many games under my belt as I can, build game by game and in training. Whether I go out on loan or stay with the Club in the New Year, I’ll want to just build on those minutes and get sharper game by game.”