Birmingham City signing opens with additional fitness training that helped them ‘find a home’


Birmingham City supporters have turned to Ryan Woods.

Birmingham City players have looked to former Blues midfielders Ryan Woods as what they see and most importantly Lee Bowyer is happy with what his summer free signing has shown at this point.

In fact, everyone is happy – not least the 27-year-old himself, who arrived at St Andrew’s three months ago, bruised by his experience on the sidelines of Stoke City and desperate to regain his form.

After starting all seven of the Blues’ Championship games he pretty much did, and as he waited for the team’s coach in Peterborough on Friday afternoon, he explained to BirminghamLive just how the key of his newfound form was his new physical form.

“For me it’s not with the ball, it’s off the ball and physically,” said Woods.

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“I lost a little weight and a little body fat. I feel like my old self again.

“I can move around the pitch and feel that I can really affect games off the ball as well as now – I feel really good about myself again.

“Getting there was very difficult, in the preseason we would do a session. The guys would come in and do a basic workout in the dome or in the gym.

“I would be there to do extra running, extra workouts and come over, do the base workout they did and go to the gym as well. But I feel like it’s paying off now on the pitch and I really feel a lot better for it.

“I had a few moans, don’t worry about it – but I knew it was for a good cause and I was happy to do it.

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“I changed my diet slightly, I never ate badly anyway. Coming back to Stoke and Millwall, through the coronavirus, it was difficult.

“I said to the gaffer when I got there ‘I really want to find a house’. And I feel like I did that in a short time here.

“I never want to get ahead, I know how fast it can turn out, football can be a horrible game sometimes, but it’s also the best in the world sometimes.

“It’s the start of the gates but it’s been going well so far.”

Indeed, it is. Woods’ integration into the heart of the Blues midfielder has been as important as the stardust sprinkled by Tahith Chong.

Birmingham City's Scott Hogan (left) celebrates with Ryan Woods after opening the scoring against Derby County
Scott Hogan of Birmingham City celebrates with Ryan Woods after opening the scoring against Derby County

The Blues’ hopes of playing from behind are enhanced by the presence of the “Ginger Pirlo” ahead of Marc Roberts, Harlee Dean and Kristian Pedersen – and while most games have been positive – fans saw the essence of Ryan. Woods at Kenilworth Road last month.

“From an individual and group performance perspective Luton has achieved the best, 5-0 away is an incredible result and I think the best score Birmingham has had as a club in a long time.

“I really enjoyed it, it was quite difficult in a few games because we faced a few teams that like to dominate the ball but this one was particularly good for me, I think I had a lot of touches, a lot of successful attackers pass.

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“Sheffield United were also good, it was great to meet the fans. It was a huge victory for us.

“I feel like I’ve been here for a long time but not in a bad way, I feel like I have settled in really well, it’s downstairs from the guys and the whole club including the personal, I felt very comfortable very early on.

“We have a big dressing room there, full of not only good players but also good people. I read something Bela said the other day “You have teammates”. But we are also friends, which is good, it has come a long way.

“It’s good for the fans that you have local guys that you know they care about at the club, but it doesn’t matter where you come from, as long as you’re a good person, we have a lot of them in the locker room.

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“I’ve been in good and bad locker rooms and I think it happens. Obviously we had a nice trip to Scotland which helped but we’re just a great bunch of guys who all get along.

“Things are going well for us, I’m sure we’ll have a few bumps in the road and that’s when that sort of thing kicks in and keeps you together, that’s extremely important.”

Just like the shape and the physical form. And for now, at least, Ryan Woods has found both.

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