Ryan Strain has taken his game to another level this season even if he does not have the goals or assists to show for it.
The 24-year-old’s strong engine has enabled himself to get up and down the right flank with ease and consistently be an attacking outlet for his team.
Strain featured in 19 games during the 2020/21 regular season and the led the team in passes in the opposition, highlighting how much the Reds rely on his marauding runs.
His absence in the squad due to a groin injury was also felt with Adelaide suffering three straight defeats in late January and early February, proving his indispensability.
From a defensive standpoint, Strain also improved and recorded 36 clearances, 7 blocks and made 26 interceptions.
He has enjoyed life under Head Coach Carl Veart and the rest of the coaching contingent which has allowed him to flourish further.
“Obviously we’ve had some foreign coaches in the past but I’ve really enjoyed this year,” he explained.
“They’re really good coaches and they’ve given me more freedom to express myself on the pitch.”
Preparing for his first A-League Finals game with the Club, Strain was optimistic United can overcome Brisbane Roar in Sunday’s do-or-die clash.
“I think we’ll do well,” he said.
“We’ve matched up well with them in the past so I think we just have to take our ‘A’ game and hopefully make it to the final.”
Strain also spoke more broadly about the young talent in the team and believed the Reds had one of the best youth setups in the country.
“We’ve got a lot of talented boys coming through the Youth Team,” he said.
“And we’ve probably got the best young talent in Australia at the moment coming through our ranks, so it’s very exciting for the fans as well.”
Strain finished by speaking about his desire to lift the A-League Championship having previously won silverware with the Club in back-to-back FFA Cups in 2018 and 2019.
“It would be unreal, that’s obviously what you set out to do at the start of the season,” he said.
“I’ve obviously won two FFA Cups but this would be the biggest one and this is the one that I really want to win.”
Sunday, 13 June vs Brisbane Roar
A-League 2020/21 – Elimination Final
Kick-off 2.35pm ACST
Venue: Moreton Daily Stadium
Broadcast: Fox Sports
Stream: Kayo Sports, MyFootball Live App