WHISPER it gently . . . but Stoke City may have uncovered an outstanding prospect in young striker Ryan Brunt.
The 19-year old protégé, who joined the Potters Academy from Bristol City two-years ago, is currently enjoying a rather fruitful six-month loan spell in League One with Leyton Orient.
The Birmingham-born frontman has rattled in three goals from just four starts for the O’s this season, his most recent coming on Tuesday night as his well-taken second half header secured Russell Slade’s side all three points against Hartlepool United.
Following the game, stokecityfc.com spoke with the youngster about his time in London thus far, and his long term hopes and visions here at the Britannia Stadium.
First of all Ryan, another game another goal - things are going pretty well for you down at Brisbane Road, aren’t they?
Yeah, definitely. I am feeling better and stronger with every game I play, so that is great for me. I think I am improving as a player down here, and obviously playing games regularly at this standard is helping me to do that. I have scored three now this season from not too many starts, so the goal ratio is quite good. That’s important, obviously, as a striker because you want to score goals.
I know you have already undertaken loan spells away from Stoke over the past twelve months, with Nantwich, Luton and Tranmere, but you seem to have really settled at Orient. Is that because you are becoming more accustomed to League football?
I think so, yeah. The Club have been great to me down here to be honest and they have made me feel very welcome. It was more a case of finding my feet again at Tranmere after a long-term knee injury, but now I feel like I am pushing on, kick-starting my career and hopefully becoming a better player.
I read on Twitter that you have a few bangs and bruises, I’d imagine that is exactly why the gaffer here wanted to send you out on loan to a lower League side?
Yeah, it is a bit different, and you do tend to get kicked a little bit, but that is part and parcel of the game. I feel pretty sore this morning from the whacks I had last night, but it’s all good. It’s a learning curve for me, for sure, but I know it is all part of my development.
Your immediate future is obviously with Leyton Orient Ryan, but what are your plans come January when the deal comes to an end. Would you like to extend the agreement?
I haven’t really thought about it yet, to be honest, I’m just trying to do well and play as many games here as I can. I haven’t spoken to Stoke or Leyton Orient about anything further down the line. I’m not sure what will happen yet, but I just want to keep playing games and hopefully scoring goals.
How about long-term? One would imagine that trying to force your way into a Premier League side is top of the agenda for you?
Definitely, I want to play for Stoke in the first-team. That has to be my aim. You need to aim as high as you can, but I know there is a lot of work in front of me before I can achieve that. I am prepared to work hard, listen and learn, so hopefully I can achieve my goals. Everybody at Stoke has been wonderful to me, the Gaffer has bought me into the first team squad, and the likes of Adie (Adrian Pennock), Mark O’Connor and Rudgie (John Rudge) are always on the phone to me. Adie has been down to watch me on a couple of occasions too, and his feedback and advice is helping me to improve as a player.
What’s it been like for you being able to train alongside seasoned international players like Peter Crouch – It must be quite surreal for you?
It’s a different class. When I was younger and watching players like Peter Crouch playing for England I never dreamed that I would be training alongside him for a Premier League Club. It’s so exciting to have those sort of players around me. When I have a day off from Orient, I pop back up to Stoke to train there, and it is a refresher for me. It keeps me involved in things at Stoke too, which is important.