Ryan Hedges discussed Tuesday's Checkatrade Trophy penalty victory over Everton U21s with the media.
Hedges scored the Reds’ goal with a fine strike from outside the box. A neatly worked corner routine saw him play it short, before receiving the ball back to his feet, cutting inside and firing low into the bottom corner.
The winger has had a tough start to the season after sustaining an injury during pre-season, so was thankful of the game time in the Checkatrade Trophy victory.
“It’s always nice to get a win and to help us try and progress in this competition.” He said, after the Reds ran out the victors on penalties against Everton U21s. “There are a lot of players who needed game time, myself included, so it was good to get a run out and get minutes back into the legs. It’s always nice to get a goal as well and contribute to winning a game.
“Being a footballer you want to play football, that’s been the most frustrating part that I feel like I haven’t played enough, not having as much game time as I’d want to so hopefully now I can kick on and prove I should be starting."
Hedges began the match at left-back, an unfamiliar role on the whole to the Welsh international, but a role in which he was allowed the freedom to come forward when he felt necessary.
“After being out injured and watching the lads start the way they did in the league, it was nice to see them winning games and doing well, but now I feel I can contribute more than I have been doing in the games that are coming up. I can only show the manager what I can do and I feel I can bring something different to the team, whatever position.”
During his younger years, Hedges came through the Everton academy set-up. Scoring against his old side tonight saw him net his first of the season, against some old-faces.
“There were a few people there that I know and who have coached me as a youngster when I was coming through, so it was nice to see some familiar faces.” Stated Hedges, shortly before he praised his new Head Coach. “You can see how enthusiastic he [Stendel] is. That’s rubbing off on the boys and we all just want to do well for the team, the boys and the fans, so hopefully we can do that.”
Finally, a word for the Checkatrade Trophy in its new format. Barnsley now sit on five points in Northern Group F, with a victory over Oldham Athletic in their first match giving three points, before a draw with Everton earned another to the tally, with the bonus extra arriving off the penalty shoot-out win. The final match will be at home to Bradford next week where one of the two will join Oldham in progressing to the knock-out stages.
“I think no player would turn down a trip to Wembley!” Said Hedges. “We’re in the competition to win it, there’s no other way of looking at it. It’s nice to get players that aren’t playing some minutes, but we want to be at Wembey at the end of it and win it.”