Wolves' Connor Ronan loving life in Slovakia
As Wolves embark on a Europa League trip to Slovan Bratislava, one of their own pack – Connor Ronan – can already give them the inside track from his Slovakian adventure.
The 21-year-old central midfielder swapped loans in the third tier of English football at Portsmouth and Walsall for a European adventure.
The academy product has made a quick-fire recovery from a fractured rib at the start of August to return and aid DAC Dunajska Streda’s Slovak Super Liga campaign.
That rib injury saw him miss DAC’s 5-2 victory over Wolves’ Europa League opponents Slovan in September.
But despite missing a month of action after that rib injury in the 2-1 defeat at AS Trencin, the youngster is relishing life on the continent.
He signed a new deal that will keep him at Wolves until at least the summer of 2021 in May on the back of his form in the Slovakian top tier with DAC.
The youngster made the loan switch to DAC in January 2019 after a short-term loan at League One side Walsall.
He helped DAC qualify for the Europa League as they finished second in the 2018-19 season.
But Peter Hyballa’s side were knocked out by Greek side Atromitos in the qualifying stages in August and thus will not be challenging Wolves or Slovan’s European dreams.
And Ronan told Irish broadcast company RTE the quest for regular game-time and his relationship with managaer Hyballa is why he opted to return.
He said: “I’m really enjoying it in Slovakia. I think it’s really important for me at this stage of my career to be getting regular game-time at club level.
“I didn’t feel the need to change really as it went really well last season and the manager backs me so that’s really important for me.”
The youngster is also pleased to have enhanced his international career due to the switch.
He returned to the starting line-up for the Republic of Ireland under-21 side’s 0-0 draw with Italy and started on the bench for their first Euro 2020 qualifying defeat to Iceland this international break.
Despite that 1-0 loss, they are still top of the Group A table.
And the youngster believes this ‘brilliant year’ can only get better.
He said: “It’s great to be back, it was the first thing I thought of when I got my injury that I’ll be missing out on the two (U21 Euro qualifying) matches (against Armenia and Sweden).
“I feel like I’m getting better and better with more time on the pitch. It’s helped me get in the (Republic of Ireland) Under-21 squad as well and it’s been a brilliant year so far.”