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But for Ryan Hedges, it might have saved his career in Aberdeen – and kept his dream of Euro 2020 alive.
The Welsh was part of the Dons before the season ended prematurely in March due to coronavirus.
But when he came back in the summer, Derek McInnes saw a change in the player. Not just mentally but also physically.
The 25-year-old came back taller, stronger and fitter. And that term Hedges was a key man.
With McInnes’ team now adopting a more offensive style, the ex-Barnsley man has done well in the final third.
As a result, he hopes he can make his way into Ryan Giggs’ squad for next year’s Euro final.
So he went away, worked on his fitness and physique, and came back with a point to prove it.
As he was preparing for the Dons clash with the Rangers in Ibrox on Sunday, the striker said, “I probably came back with a bee in my hood.
“For me the last season has shrunk. I didn’t join the team. During our absence, I just tried to put myself down and give it my all.
“I kept telling myself that I was good enough to be in this squad and make progress.
“When I signed for Aberdeen, I told the manager that I wanted to be with the Euros in 2020. That’s still my goal in 2021.
« I have to carry on as I am. Play, score, support, help the team. That’s still my goal.
“Nobody goes into a game or a season and doesn’t want to do their best. But there were certain things I just couldn’t do last season.
“I had to give everything to get into this team. And now I have to give everything to stay inside.
“Was I worried about my future in Aberdeen? The only person who can really answer that is the manager. He would have made the final decision.
“But I knew in myself what qualities I had and that I could be a success, an important part of the team.
If so, you wouldn’t rule out the winger goal crashing the Welsh squad for the euros.
He has to impress Giggs before March if he wants to play alongside Gareth Bale against Italy, Turkey and Switzerland in the final.
And he could be helped by teammate Andy Considine, who helped seal Scotland’s historic qualifications last week.
Hedges would support this promotion from the U21s and after seeing a big tournament as a Wales fan it will have a positive effect on the Scottish game.
He said: “This time last year, I was called up to join the Wales squad that qualified for the Euro.
« So if I can continue to influence the games for Aberdeen and score goals and assists while the team wins, there is no reason I can’t do it again. « .
« I look at myself in the mirror and say I’ve done all I can – if I’m not selected, it’s not me. « .
« We’re playing a similar system to Wales here in Aberdeen, which is very nice. « . We have a lot of good, technical players who want to play football and we get results from that.
« Lewis has the chance to form the squad in Scotland – why not? It’s certainly something that both he and Ross McCrorie should be pushing for.
« I switched to Scotland’s win over Serbia last week after watching Wales and I saw all of the celebration videos on Twitter.
« That shows how positive this will be for the game. A large part of the squad plays in the Premiership, which shows the quality up here.
“Euro 2016 was an all time high for Welsh football. I went to France as a fan and it was great. It was amazing to see Hal Robson-Kanu turn the Belgian defense upside down to score – one of the best things I’ve ever seen.
To do that again, he will have to keep standing out for Aberdeen, starting against Steven Gerrard’s leaders.
And it will be the job of Hedges and others to get around him and give McInnes the threat of attack they have had so far this season.
He said, “When Sam came to our last game against Hibs it was a chance to score. We missed that, a clinical goalscorer.
« You can’t deny the effect it’s having. He scored 23 goals last season, so someone of that caliber will make a difference to any team.
« But we now have so many attack options around him that we need to keep tuning in. « . Fergie has nine goals, I have six. We’re trying to relieve Sam.
“If he gets the numbers he got last year and we help him, it should lead to a positive season. ”
Ryan Hedges, Aberdeen Football Club, Rangers F. . C.. . , Wales National Football Team, UEFA Euro 2020, Andrew Considine, Ibrox, Derek McInnes
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