Ryan McGivern programme interview

Posted : 16th March 2019

‘Look at Linfield’ caught up with defender Ryan McGivern for the first time earlier this week. The left-sided defender, whose former clubs include Manchester City, Leicester, Crystal Palace and Hibernian [under the management of Linfield general manager Pat Fenlon], joined Linfield on a three-year contract after leaving Swindon Town last summer, but it’s mostly been a season of frustration for the Newry native. After picking up an injury in the week leading up to Linfield’s season-opener away to Glenavon, McGivern had to wait until late February to make his debut for the Blues. Fit again McGivern told the Linfield programme that he’s delighted to be back involved now.

“It was a frustrating period for me, as I came home to play football, only to get injured the week before the season started. Watching on from the side-lines was tough but thankfully, I’m out the other side of it now and gradually getting my fitness up. Hopefully, I can play a part between now and the end of the season.

“I’ve settled really well here; the boys have all been first class from the moment I walked through the door. I knew a good few of them already from playing with them over the years, but they were very welcoming to me and we’ve a great team spirit which will hopefully show between now and the end of the season.”

Swindon Town boss Phil Brown wanted to keep McGivern at the County Ground and offered the defender a new contract, but the 29-year-old reveals why he chose to come to Windsor Park instead.

“The size of the club lured me here. Linfield is the biggest club in the country, North and South of the border. When the time came, there was no other team I was going to play for than the biggest and the best. Swindon offered me a new contract at the end of last season, but I weighed everything up – logistics and my wife, and stuff like that came into it. When Linfield came into the equation, I really had to take it seriously and thankfully, I feel I’ve made the right decision. I’ve already got a League Cup Winners medal this season and hopefully, we’ll pick up more silverware this season.”

“I want to win as many trophies as possible here. The Linfield fans turn out in their numbers, home and away every week and as a squad, we expect to deliver them trophies, as we know the quality amongst our squad. It’s down to us as players to go and put performances in and come the end of the season hopefully, we’ll have done enough to reward the fans for their support.“

Capped 25 times as a full Northern Ireland international, McGivern has played in the Barclays Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two in England and the Scottish Premiership. When asked about his initial thoughts on the standard of the Irish League, the defender says he’s been impressed.

“The standard of the Irish League, as I expected, is very good. Some players have surprised me that, for whatever reason, they haven’t had a chance across the water already. There are a lot of good players across this league and it’s been a good test. I’ve played three league games so far and hopefully with the upcoming games, I’ll be able to get myself up to speed in terms of fitness.”

McGivern described Linfield’s last league outing as a ‘bitter pill to swallow’ as the Blues went down 2-0 to Glenavon at Mourneview Park last Friday evening, but he’s also refusing to get carried away with what was only Linfield’s first league defeat since December 1.

“We were bitterly disappointed. We knew it would be a big test, but we wanted to stretch the gap at the top and unfortunately, couldn’t manage it. It was a bitter pill to swallow but I think we created enough chances to win the game. However, if we’re not clinical in both boxes, that’s going to be the turnaround. We’ve been terrific defensively so far this season, but the two goals last week were preventable. We could have closed Harmon down quicker for the first goal and we get caught chasing the game for their second goal late in the game. Other than that, I don’t think Gareth [Deane] had too much to do. “

“We’ve been playing a back three and I think we’ve got the players to play many systems. That said, it’s eleven players against eleven players and you have to make sure you do your jobs and hope that after 90 minutes, that’s enough to get you the three points and so far this season, it has worked more often than not. We can’t get too downhearted by it, as it’s only the first league defeat since December. We’ve got seven big league games now and we’ll make sure our heads are screwed on for a big end to the season.”

A warm welcome return to Ryan and everyone at the Club will wish him every success for the last seven league games of the season.
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