Hedges: I learnt a lot at O’s
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
Wales under-21 international reflects on time at the club, discusses fitness problems and future at Swansea
Ryan Hedges believes he has learnt a great deal following his four-month stay with Leyton Orient during their turbulent 2014/15 campaign, which resulted in the E10 club finishing in the bottom four.
The 19-year-old signed on-loan from Premier League Swansea City in January and eventually remained with the Brisbane Road outfit until the end of the League One season.
He scored twice – in victories against Walsall and Yeovil Town – in 17 appearances for the club, but unfortunately couldn’t prevent Fabio Liverani’s team suffering relegation.
Hedges is certain he will taje a lot from his time in east London and revealed why he didn’t feel fully fit for that final month of the campaign.
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“It definitely was crazy at times and to be in that position, fighting relegation, is obviously not where you want to be as a club,” said the Swansea teenager.
“But I think being down there has given me a lot of help for the future. Hopefully I won’t be in that position again, but if I am then I will know what it is all about.”
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Hedges impressed Orient supporters following his January arrival and he was playing a key role in helping them try to beat the drop.
The youngsters earned an international call-up to the Wales under-21 team in March and subsequently missed O’s 3-1 triumph against Port Vale on March 28.
He represented his country on March 31 and helped them beat Bulgaria 3-1, but surprisingly was in action the following day for Liverani’s men as they defeated Coventry City 1-0.
Those three points gave Orient a huge chance of beating the drop. Hedges would go on to start four of the next five games before not being summoned from the bench in O’s final two fixtures.
And the Swansea man has revealed a knee problem he had before featuring for Wales, got a lot worst after not resting properly.
“I was massively disappointed not to be involved as much after international duty,” said Hedges. “I think that’s something I will learn from and take away from this experience.
“I rushed myself back after international duty and that was a learning curve - I needed to walk before I could run. I didn’t feel fully fit after playing for Wales and we had Coventry the next day and then Gillingham on the Monday.
“At the moment I am injured so it has been a repetitive injury and obviously having no rest hasn’t help.
“It was my knee and it is an injury that has been ongoing for a while, but it seemed to get worst over those few days. I played on Tuesday for Wales and then getting 30 minutes on the Wednesday against Coventry knackered me up a bit.”
Although Hedges is a young man, it definitely seems like he was rushed back and that would have been why he seemed shattered during O’s final run-in.
Before that he had been a player that many of the supporters enjoyed watched and his enthusiasm was clear to see.
His contract with Swansea finishes in the summer, but the 19-year-old seems confident he will get another from the Welsh club.
Hedges added: “I am hopefully going to be a Swansea player next season and I can fight for my place. I might have another loan.
“Hopefully I can push on from League One and then just keep bettering myself as a player and hopefully make a first team appearance at Swansea next season.”
For more from Hedges, including his appreciation for Orient’s supporters and his thoughts on why they got relegated, see this week’s paper.