Ryan and Brad take next step on the journey
Midfield pair Ryan Richefond and Brad Isaacs signed one-year deals with the club prior to Friday's excellent victory over Leyton Orient. The duo, who have been regulars in the youth team under Steve Martin and Mark Beard, impressed Reds' boss John Gregory enough to be offered terms for 2014-15.
Isaacs, from Tilgate, admits ‘it's a dream come true’ to play for his home town club: “It's been really good, growing up watching Crawley means it's a dream come true to play for my local club and I'm really happy.
“My parents couldn't be any prouder and I have to thank them for everything they've done for me as well. They took me all around the country to all the away games.”
Isaccs, who was at Brighton & Hove Albion between the ages of 8-16 joined Crawley in 2012, has praised the boss for his help in making the transition from under-18s to first team football: “He's really helpful, talks to us, gives us information and has been great in helping me settle in.
“Dannie Bulman's been really good to me. I've been learning from him and watching him play during the games, understanding his positioning. I'm more of a technical midfielder that likes to get the ball down. Paul Scholes was my idol, I base my sort of game on him – I liked his passing and his shooting ability.”
Like Isaacs, Londoner Richefond also plays central midfield too but confesses that the two aren't quite alike in the way they operate.
“I've got quite a good engine on me and I look at myself to be a box-to-box sort of midfielder, similar to Steven Gerrard, who I look to emulate,” Ryan said. “I think the aim now is to break into the first team. I look at Mike Jones and Andy Drury and aim to take bits of their game and put them into mine. My versatility could be an advantage to me.”
Richefond believes that his attitude has played a part in his journey from playing Sunday league football to penning a deal with a professional club.
“It was brilliant to sign a deal and was something I've been working towards since I was nine-years-old,” Ryan explained. “It's great that I've achieved my dream. However, it's all about pushing on now and getting in the first team.
“In the first year of my scholarship I didn't play at all really. In the second year I came back a different player so I think it's down to hard work and my attitude to get where I am today. I had a six-month trial at Norwich and spent a bit of time at QPR but I'll continue to stay at the same digs here in Crawley and break in the first team as soon as possible.”
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