Hedges hails Orient fans but baffled at relegation
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
Swansea City attacker discusses loan at Brisbane Road, why O’s got relegated and the fans
Ryan Hedges has thanked the Leyton Orient supporters for making him feel welcome at Brisbane Road, but admitted it is hard to explain why the club suffered relegation this season.
Wales under-21 international Hedges proved to be a hit with O’s fans after initially joining on a one-month loan from Swansea City on January 16.
His stay with the club was eventually extended until the end of the season and he scored twice in 17 appearances.
The 19-year-old conceded it was crazy at times, but he learnt a great deal from the four months he spent in E10.
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He said: “It was a really good experience for me personally and I’ve taken a lot of pointers from the positions we have been in. I think I will come out a better player for it.
“While I was playing, everything was mostly positive from the fans and I have to thank them for that, and for making me feel welcome at the club.
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“I settled in straight away and the fans kind of took to me, which definitely helped.
“To get as many starts as I did, especially being a teenager, was really pleasing. To get my first league goal as well was a massive confidence boost.”
Hedges, unfortunately, could not put his finger on why Orient were relegated.
He thanked Fabio Liverani for the opportunity and, speaking before the Italian left the club by mutual consent, admitted it was always going to be hard for the 39-year-old to continue as O’s manager.
“A lot of things happened on and off the pitch, mostly off, which didn’t help us, but as a squad I don’t think we can really blame it too much on off the field stuff,” added Hedges.
“It just didn’t seem to happen and it is really hard to explain, it is just one of those things.
“I can’t really fault the effort of anyone, I don’t think people were putting in half a shift, it just didn’t work out for us on the pitch for some reason.
“I have to thank Fabio for giving me the opportunity he has and I wish him all the best, but after getting relegated he is in a tough position.”
When Hedges returned to Swansea he was surprised to find out a lot of people had been tracking his progress, that was mainly down to Orient coach Kevin Nugent.
He added: “A lot of Swansea people have spoken to me since I have been back and heard good things about my loan.
“With Kevin Nugent being an old Swansea player, he still speaks to a few of the coaches and players at the club.
“Leon Britton knew how I was doing and a few others kept tabs on me so it was good. It was nice to come back and know people could see I was doing well on loan and I have proved to myself now that I can play in the Football League.”
After Orient’s relegation, the chances of Hedges returning to Brisbane Road on loan seem slim. But he has backed them to push for promotion next year.
“I wish everyone at the club all the best and I will always keep an eye on their results in the future,” added Hedges.
“I can definitely see them bouncing back straight away and with the core players they have in the squad they should definitely be contenders for promotion next season.”