Date Posted: 13/08/2019
Guernsey’s most experienced outfield player Ryan-Zico Black has as much hunger to play as ever and is determined to play for the Green Lions for at least one more year.
A combination of injuries, unavailability and a generally younger group of players coming through meant that the 38-year-old was only able to make three appearances last season.
But despite his opportunities being limited, ‘Zico’ still has the same passion and enthusiasm for representing Guernsey and is keen to keep going.
“I’m taking it season by season but want to give it at least one more year,” Black told GuernseyFC.com. “I tend to see how I feel each summer, and I’ve definitely missed it this summer - so would love to give it another shot.
“Injuries and commitments meant I didn’t get many games as I would have liked last season. I got in good condition near the end of season and was hoping to be involved over a couple of weekends but then I got injured again.
“But I would love a good run and help the squad more. I still have a lot of passion and love playing for GFC – I’m still hungry for it as ever so hopefully my body will allow me to do it.
“I speak regularly with the coaches and they advised to play as long as I can, as long as I am hungry. They are honest – they’d be the first to tell me if they thought it was time to step away.
“I’ve had some issues with my calf over the summer but it’s healed now and I’m getting back into training. I know I have a lot of work to do to get back in as I missed a lot of pre-season, so I'm a few weeks behind. It’s up to me to get to a condition where I give the coaches something to think about. Hopefully I can play a few Priaulx games to get match sharp and then give myself the best chance of getting a few games for GFC."
Rather than feeling his age being part of such a young Guernsey squad, Black feels motivated by seeing players progress and how his skill set can complement theirs.
“It’s definitely a different feel now with such a young squad but I believe I still have a lot to offer and feel like I am keeping up in training. I might not have the pace to match the younger players but that's never really been my game. My style of play is different, I try to think ahead a bit more and I feel I can use that to complement the team.
"It really motivates me to see younger players make the step up and I'm keen to help them develop. I can use my experience to give them some guidance. Having played at this level, and higher, for a long time, even before GFC, I know what it takes to get results at this level.
"I still have something to offer. If I didn’t think I did, I’d be honest with myself and my team-mates and step away. Some of the older lads have come back to training this summer too after being away from it for a couple of years, which is great."
Since the end of 2018, Zico has been stuck frustratingly one game short of being only the eighth player to reach 200 games for the club - a milestone he admits would be nice to reach.
"Stepping away on 199 would still be a good achievement but would be a shame to come this far and not get there, so I'm keen to reach it," he admitted. "I don’t want to walk away yet."