STAGS SIGN RYAN SWEENEY ON LOAN FROM STOKE
Highly-rated Stoke City defender signs on loan
mansfieldtown.net, Fri 3 Aug 2018
Highly-rated Stoke City defender Ryan Sweeney has today signed for the Stags on a season-long loan deal, the club are delighted to announce.
The 21-year-old signed for the Potters from AFC Wimbledon in 2016, and has since had two loan spells at League One side Bristol Rovers, during which he made 39 league appearances for the Pirates, scoring on four occasions.
Sweeney made his professional debut for the Dons in April 2015, coming on as an 80th minute substitute in an away match at Dagenham and Redbridge.
The left centre-half earned a place in the starting 11 in Wimbledon’s next fixture, a 0-0 away draw with Oxford United, in which Sweeney was named man of the match.
The 6ft 3in defender soon started to catch the eye of Premier League clubs, signing for then-top flight side Stoke in August 2016.
Sweeney featured heavily in Bristol Rovers’ campaign last season after joining on loan, and helped the Gas to a respectable 13th-place finish in League One.
He has also represented Ireland at under-19 (five appearances) and under-21 level (six appearances).
“I’m delighted to be joining an ambitious club,” Sweeney told http://www.mansfieldtown.net after signing.
“The gaffer is trying to get us to play attractive football. He’s made some good signings this summer and they’re looking sharp in training.
“I’m just hoping that whenever the gaffer gives me the opportunity to put on the shirt, I can add to what is being built here.”
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 07 August 2018
The manager David Flitcroft also spoke of the recent acquisition of defender Ryan Sweeney, who the Stags have signed on loan from Stoke City.
"He is a young centre-half who in the academy is used to playing wide against a wide striker, or a central striker who takes up wide positions.
"He's left-sided, which is vital. He's good in both boxes and he embraces defending. It was sort of a no-brainer. I know Darrell Clarke [manager at Bristol Rovers] really well, and I chatted to Darrell at length on Ryan.
"I agonised over to whether to go with Lewis Gibbens. But I think what that would've done when the window shut is, if he'd have had to come in and spend 12 to 14 weeks in the team, it could've had an adverse effect.
"The pressure is on us to win a lot of football matches this season, which is good. Gibbens is one of our own and it might be a good idea to take our time with his development.
"That's one thing I agonised over, I really did. But I think that we have really sufficient cover, and it also gives me the opportunity at times to put Pearce central and move Hayden [White] back into a wing-back position.
"I just felt that I didn't want to go five months with a locked down system. I genuinely felt that we needed cover there and that's the decision."
15 MAY 2018
Ryan Sweeney's loan at Bristol Rovers reviewed: A fall from grace
How did the Stoke City man get on in his second stint at Rovers
Centre back Ryan Sweeney arrived from Stoke City for a second loan spell at Bristol Rovers this summer with the expectation the Republic of Ireland U21s international would be one of the stand out players in the League One side.
The big defender was magnificent in the 2016/17 season and fans celebrated when manager Darrell Clarke secured him for another season but the expected success was not to be.
The centre-half helped the club finish in 10th position the previous campaign, featuring 16 times since a move in January.
After impressing so greatly in his first term with the Pirates, the Stoke loanee played a significant part in Darrell Clarke’s starting eleven at the start of this season.
However, since January, Sweeney missed a large proportion of Rovers games and failed to reassert a place in Clarke’s squad.
Last month the Bristol Rovers manager told Bristol Live: "He [Sweeney] has fallen a bit by the wayside, and that can happen in football.
"To be fair to Sweens, he's a great kid but I don't think he's reach the standards he hit last season if I'm honest with you.
"But you get that with young lads. Certainly, his attitude has been absolutely spot on, I've got no issues with that whatsoever. I bought Tony Craig in and we've got Tom Broadbent now as a permanent left sided centre-half. I thought the squad needed some experience, that’s why Tony came into the club.”
So was the loan a success?
The on-loan defender made 27 appearances this season, and scored four times during that time.
Although many of these were starts, it looks unlikely for Sweeney to return to the Memorial Stadium for the 2018/19 campaign due to his recent performance levels.