Ridden earns the praise of Caversham coach
Otago United and Caversham coach Richard Murray is predicting a bright future for young Invercargill football talent Andrew Ridden.
The 18-year-old impressed for the Southland-based Spirit FC in the Footballsouth Premier League last season, while still a pupil at Verdon College.
This year Ridden has moved to Dunedin, where he is studying sports nutrition at the University of Otago. He linked up with the successful Caversham club and has been a cornerstone in the centre of the midfield for his team.
Ridden scored a goal in Caversham's 3-1 Chatham Cup quarter-final victory over Manukau City last Sunday and drew praise from Murray, who labelled him as his man-of-the-match.
Caversham sit top of the ladder in the Footballsouth Premier League and will be determined to see off the threat of nearest rivals Dunedin Technical over the final weeks of the season.
Ridden has started in the majority of Caversham's games and Murray said the improvement in the youngster over the past 12 months had been phenomenal.
He was a member of the Otago United youth academy side last summer and ended up making three appearances for the first team in the national league later in the season.
"The development I've seen in him since the youth national league to now has been incredible," Murray said.
"He's got all the attributes. He's got the height, physique and all the skills. He's been fantastic. He's gone from strength to strength."
Ridden is one of the most outstanding young footballers to emerge out of Southland in recent years and Murray said he had untapped potential.
One of the qualities that sets Ridden apart from his peers is his strong work ethic and committed attitude, both on and off the field.
"It's just his enthusiasm and effort," Murray said.
"When he's on the pitch, he sets the tone for the team. When he's on his game and working his backside off, that's when we're at our best.
The Southend United junior is loving his time in the Caversham team and said he had learned a lot from Murray and the senior members of the side. "This season has probably been my biggest growing season as a player," Ridden said.
"I've learned heaps under [Murray] and especially from the other Otago players as well.
"It's a good environment to grow as a player."
Caversham will take on Lower Hutt City on August 5 in a Chatham Cup semifinal.
Ridden is eagerly awaiting the clash and said it would be one of the most high-pressure games of his career.
"We made the semifinals last year and to repeat it again this year, is a really good feat." he said.
Ridden is expected to be apart of the Otago United national league side again this summer and said he was aiming to continue his steady progress and push for more playing time.
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