This afternoon, Blues announced the first signing of the summer transfer window, former Stoke midfielder – Ryan Woods.

The deep lying Centre-Mid has been acquired on a free transfer after being released by the Potters.

Woods, who is local to Birmingham, has many standout qualities that will excite Bluenoses. One of his most dangerous weapons is his passing ability, something Blues have lacked for some time now.

Ivan Sunjic offers a sturdy figure to break up play and get around the pitch. Gary Gardner possesses an impressive ability to drive forwards with the ball, but neither have great passing abilities.

How will he fit in?

You would expect that Woods has signed to be more than just competition for Sunjic and Gardner. I would expect him to slot alongside Sunjic when playing with a two man midfield. Offering a partnership that can be solid defensively, but also punishing teams going forward.

Gardner’s energy and grit off the bench would likely play an important role throughout the season. With his attributes allowing him to sure things up at the back but also change matches with his forward runs.

However, there is also a good chance that Bowyer will lean towards a 4 man midfield diamond like so:

           Sunjic

Gardner          Woods

         Halilovic (if he signs)

This would allow Woods to probably get forward slightly more than in a two man midfield. There are a couple of issues with this formation though.

There isn’t really any room for Bela or Sanchéz in this side, which would come as a blow, as they had been two of our best players last campaign. 

It is also very reliant on Halilovic signing a new deal, otherwise it’d probably fall to the inexperienced Odin Bailey to pick up the No.10 role.

Career Statistics:

Age = 27

Height = 5ft 8

Position(s) = Strong – CDM/CM                                                 Can play – RB/RM/LB

Apps = 307

Goals = 4

Assists = 18

Yellow Cards = 62


Career Timeline

December 2012 – Made his debut for Shrewsbury in League one.

August 2013 – First senior start for Shrewsbury Vs Rotherham. Woods played at RB

January 2014 – Scored his first senior goal for Shrewsbury Vs MK Dons

May 2014 – Got relegated with Shrewsbury to League Two

2014/15 – Woods has a brilliant season for Shrewsbury, achieving automatic promotion to League One, and getting nominated for POTS.

August 2015 – Captained Shrewsbury for the first time 

September 2015 – Signs for Brentford for around £1m

2016/17 and 2017/18 – Woods became an ever-present for the Bees and picked up consecutive Brentford POTS awards.

2018-20 – Woods signs for Stoke but has a rough time. Struggled to assert himself as a starter in the side.

2020-21 – Woods signs for Millwall and becomes a regular for Rowett’s side, who narrowly missed out on the playoffs in his first season.


Overall transfer rating – 7/10