Blumberg ‘living the dream’ in England

Ryan Blumberg with Charlton’s academy manager Steve Avory.

AUSTRALIA’S Ryan Blumberg is hoping to be in Charlton Athletic’s starting 11 when the under-23 team plays its first game of the season later this month.

“I’m living the dream,” Blumberg told The AJN last week.

“I’ve always wanted to play football professionally in England.”

Blumberg, 18, who was discovered through the Nike Football Academy, signed a one-year deal with Charlton in June to play for the under-23 team.

He has played in several trial matches and said that he’s enjoying playing in England.

“I’ve played well throughout each game I’ve played in and I’m really enjoying it. I’m definitely in line to be in the starting 11 because there are three centre-backs and two starting spots.

“The two other players are both right-footed and I’m left-footed, which helps. I think I will definitely be in line to start come the start of the season.”

Charlton’s under-23 team won the league last year, and reached the semi-finals of the national championship.

Blumberg said that with such a strong side, he hopes to push for selection in Charlton’s top team, which plays in the Football League One competition. 20 academy players have started in first team games in the last four years, so he said that if you work hard you will get a chance.

But this year, it’s just about impressing the coaches.

“My goal is to make a good impression at the club and try and get a contract extension and sign a longer deal at the end of the year.

“I’ve learned that you have to be really patient and impress before things start moving forward in terms of the first team.

“I want to start as many games as I can, perform well individually and if that first team shot comes up then take advantage of it.”

Blumberg said that settling into England has been difficult, because most of the players are UK based who have their own family and friends around them.

Instead, Blumberg focuses on football because he said the quality of competition is higher in the UK.

“There are less errors and you can’t afford to make a mistake because you do get punished.”

Blumberg’s rise through the football ranks is due to his attendance at the Nike Academy, which is based at the England national team’s St George’s Park.

JOSHUA LEVI