Ryan Barnett looks ahead to Newport County and gives us his thoughts on pre-season so far.
Town take on Newport County in their first competitive friendly at Ludlow this evening. A crowd of almost 2,000 is expected as fans hope to get their first proper look of a newly assembled squad ahead of the new 2019/20 season.
One player who has managed to get plenty of minutes under his belt so far in Town's training games this summer is Ryan Barnett. He spoke to Shrewsweb to give his thoughts ahead of tonight's game and Town's recent trip to Portugal.
“I think the week in Portugal was good. It’s been great for helping to bed in all the new players and coaching staff. It’s about them getting used to us as players and us getting used to them.
“You’re kind of in everyone’s pockets for a week. It’s great for getting to know players you probably didn't know as well before.
“I was in a room with Ryan Giles for a week which was a nightmare,” Ryan joked. “You need that good bond with the staff as well because you’re going to be working with them all year.”
Town had the chance to focus on some tasks designed to push the team mentally and physically. Freediving was something that caught everyone’s eye. Ryan gave the inside scoop on who was the best and who was not.
“There were a couple which were an absolute shambles. James Rowland couldn’t hold his breath at all,” Ryan joked. “We did some breathing exercises before and they prepared us for going underwater.
“We did a competition with the older ones versus the younger ones. The older ones won but I think that’s because they’ve got bigger lungs. Omar was the best I think he held his breath for 2 minutes 38 seconds which is crazy. I think I was 1 minute 38 seconds which is a good score.
“You probably don’t realise until after how something like that can be so beneficial. It allowed you to bond as a team and speak about things that you didn’t think you’d talk about.”
Ryan Giles is someone Ryan knows well from their time at Telford together. He explained how he thought Giles was settling in.
“He’s already a massive character and I think he’s only been here for the full Portugal week. He’s confident and gets along with everyone. But he was a nightmare to live with but we have great banter and he’s settled in so well.”
James Rowland is someone who's followed Barnett's path to the first team closely and now seems to be getting his chance to prove himself during pre-season.
“He was also in my room in Portugal we had more of an apartment than a room. You can really see how much he’s come out of his shell this summer. When he first came he was really quiet but he’s done really well since he’s come in and hopefully, he can continue that and stay in the side this year."
“I try and give him little pointers when I can as I know he’s in a similar position to what I was. I came into the first team at a young age. I know it can be quite scary coming in with all the older lads.”
Barnett has also featured a lot in the early pre-season games and said how pleased he was to get those minutes under his belt so quickly.
“I probably didn’t expect to get that many minutes so quickly. I played the first game where we played 45 minutes each, then we jumped up to 60 minutes and then I played 90 minutes against Sheffield Wednesday as well. It’s good to get those minutes in early.
“I think this is the year where I need to try and push myself into the first team, obviously it’s up to the manager whether he wants to send me out on loan or not. All I can do is try and get myself up for selection and give it 100%.
“I’m quite a versatile player, over the 3 years already I think I’ve played several different positions. I’ve played centre mid, Number 10, Right wing-back. I think it can only be a good thing, as the manager knows he can rely on me and being a versatile player just gives him more options.
“I think I’ve learnt over the years that your off season is massive so I’ve been working really hard to make sure I get myself to the front. I think I’ve got there but I need to keep that up now. Fitness has always been big for me, I think if you’ve got that everything else should fall into place because I believe in my ability.”
Barnett is relishing the opportunity to impress again tomorrow with a game against Newport County.
"It's the first proper 90 minutes we'll have played. The fans will be coming to that one so it will be nice to show them what we've been working on in Portugal."