'Music to my ears' - How Hibs convinced CJ Egan-Riley to make loan switch from Burnley
Blowing a gale, with rain and sleet swirling around the Global Energy Stadium, the elements provided a rude welcome to Scottish football. But, the 20-year-old, who has tasted life in the Champions League, the English Premiership, and as part of a squad currently leading the Skybet Championship, says he will be happy to adapt to the conditions if it means he gets regular game-time with the Easter Road side.
“I knew how good a club Hibs was, the history behind the club, the fanbase, and the league as well. I'll get different tests as well - I've never faced anything like I did on Tuesday night - and I'll also get more gametime, more minutes under my belt. To come on and make my debut and get a good 20 minutes was good, I'm more used to the conditions now and the playing surfaces and getting to know my team-mates as well.
"The result wasn't what we wanted but we have to keep pushing forward. It wasn't the best conditions but it was the same for both sides and every player on the pitch - you've just got to adapt and make it less of a factor."
A player who made the breakthrough at Manchester City, where he registered three appearances before joining up with former Etihad Stadium legend turned Burnley manager Vincent Kompany in the summer. While he has praised the former Belgian defender, the youngster, who can operate as a centre-back, right-back or a defensive midfield role, says the time had come to go chasing match minutes. While Burnley focus on winning the Championship promotion race, Egan-Riley has made his own progression the priority.
“Burnley has been great, I've learned so much and we're flying as a team and the manager's great, I just want to play more. It's nothing against Burnley, they've got great players, but I've come here and I'm ready to give my all for Hibs.
"Vincent Kompany wished me all the best and even helped by speaking to me about what move might be best. He's a legend and a great manager so any advice I can get from him I'll take."
On loan until the end of the season, he says there were other options but that his chats with Hibs manager Lee Johnson swayed him towards a stint in the Scottish Premiership.
"I spoke to the manager here multiple times before signing and he laid out the plan for me as well which I was happy with. He didn't tell me I'm definitely going to play in one position. He likes that I'm a versatile player and said he brought me in because of my quality more than the positional stuff. I can play in three positions - centre-back, right-back, and holding midfielder.
"On Tuesday I was needed at right-back so if that's what he wants, that's what I'll do. It was music to my ears. It's been a bit of a tough season for me so far but the manager showed his faith in me by putting me on when we were drawing a game like that so it was a massive compliment for me."
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