As the restart of the football season draws closer, our penultimate player interview sees us catch up with Ipswich Town U18 & Gibraltar U19 international Kian Ronan.
Born in UK but with a Gibraltarian Mother & Grandfather, Kian has represented Gibraltar at U16, U17 & U19 level. We asked how it feels to be playing internationally, “Playing international football is something I’ve thought about from the day I started playing when I was 6 years old, but actually going out and playing for Gibraltar is just a dream come true. I feel very proud when I put on that shirt as I have fulfilled a promise to someone that’s very special to me. Also knowing that my family are watching on just gives me a feeling which is hard to explain to be honest, regardless of the results. Nobody can expect us to be winning games left right and centre, but one thing for sure is that we, as a nation, are moving in the right direction.”
Brought up through the ranks of Ipswich Town, Ronan has had the opportunities to play against some great teams and players. We asked him how he has found the level compared to what he is used too, “Having been in the academy system at Ipswich, I have played against some quality opposition, but when you play against the likes of Belgium and Wales, it is a big step up. It’s much more physical, much quicker and you need to be able to deal with the pressure of representing your country. Also, when playing here in Ipswich it is very different style of play, as a club we like to dominate teams and play entertaining football. With Gibraltar it’s different, we make the pitch very tight and compact and make it hard for teams to play. Nonetheless I love playing in these types of games, when there is a lot of pressure to perform, which ever team I’m part of.”
While being at Ipswich for 10 years now, Kian explained the difference between his team-mates at club and international level – “At times I do find it difficult when I go away with the national team, because at my club I’ve been playing with the same 10-15 lads that I have done for the last decade so I know their game inside out and I know what to expect from everyone. I have to adjust my mindset when I’m with Gibraltar because it’s a completely new set of boys who play a different style of football. With the national team, most of the boys have grown up together and have been playing in the same team for years now, and this is quite evident on the pitch. They are all very comfortable with each other and they play off one another well. Even off the pitch, every age group I’ve worked with (16s, 17s and 19s) has been brilliant and from my own experience the boys do everything they can off the pitch to give them the best chance when they step onto the pitch, and that’s all we can ask. Obviously the level of football in Gibraltar is different to the level here in England but there isn’t anything we can do about that. When the qualifiers come round we just have to give everything we can and take all the experience we have and put it into action.”
Kian signed a new two year contract , with an option to a third, last May – the young midfielder gave us an insight into what his goals for the future are, “I’m hoping that 2018 will be my breakthrough year in international football. They’re are U21s games in March which I’m working towards to hopefully be selected which would be another great achievement, especially for it to be the same time as the birthday of my younger sister, Kayleigh! I do also have the Senior squad in my sights this year as there will be plenty of opportunities to play. The new Nations League would be a great chance for me to hopefully be up for selection. Here at Ipswich my only focus now is getting my head down and putting in the work on the pitch and in the gym to give myself every chance of gaining a further contract.”