Liam Ridgewell has opened up about his experiences in MLS as he embarks on his second stint in the English game, crediting his time in North America as a "great, really refreshing" adventure that "gave me another lease of life."
The Englishman joined the Portland Timbers as a Designated Player in 2014 and earned multiple MLS All-Star nods while helping PTFC win the 2015 MLS Cup and reach last year's final. Now 35, the center back parted ways with the Timbers by mutual consent this winter and signed with English Championship side Hull City.
“I wanted to try something different and go out there with an open mind,” Ridgewell told the Hull Daily Mail in an interview published on Saturday. “The league is completely different to what a lot of people expect. It’s grown bigger and stronger. I feel as fresh and as fit as when I first went there.
“Every week I was coming up against a world-class center forward. You still had to keep your wits about you,” he added, noting the league's recent spike in young talent like record-setting Newcastle United recruit Miguel Almiron. “I played against players I may not have come against before. It’s not what people expect at all.”
Now "Ridgy" hopes to play a part in Hull's push for promotion to the Premier League in the second half of the season; the Tigers were relegated from the top flight in 2017 and currently sit in mid-table in the Championship.
“Did I envisage staying for five years? No, probably not,” he said of his MLS tenure. “Initially I just wanted to go over there and embrace it as much as possible and take to it. I loved it, it was great, really refreshing for me. It gave me another lease of life. It was something I needed to do and I really loved it.”