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ALBION SET TO SIGN RIDGEWELL

New signing Liam Ridgewell.

New signing Liam Ridgewell.

Image by: Paul Hazlewood

PUBLISHED

17:00 30th December 2015

by Paul Camillin


Brighton & Hove Albion have agreed a deal with Portland Timbers to sign their MLS title-winning captain Liam Ridgewell on loan from 2nd January.

The 31-year-old former Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion defender can play in the centre of defence or at left-back.

He will begin training with Albion immediately, with the club set to complete the transfer once the window reopens.

Subject to international clearance, it's likely Ridgewell will be eligible for his debut against Hull City in the FA Cup on 9th January, with the loan period running up to and including the Bolton Wanderers match on 13th February.

Albion boss Chris Hughton said, "I know Liam very well from my time as manager at Birmingham City, and he is an excellent and important addition for us.

"He will bring extra experience to our defence at a crucial time, and will give me an option both in the centre of defence and at left-back.

"Liam has played the vast majority of his career in the Premier League - with more than 350 senior appearances; he's also got experience of the Europa League and Championship from his time at Birmingham."

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Ridgewell was born in Bexleyheath in London, and began his career with West Ham United as a scholar, before moving to Aston Villa in 2001.

He was part of the Villa youth team that won the 2002 FA Youth Cup, and played for England at under-19 and under-21 levels.

He made his Aston Villa debut in 2003, and went on to play 93 times for the club, during a six-year spell which also included a brief loan at AFC Bournemouth.

He was signed by Birmingham in 2007, and spent three of his four-and-a-half seasons with the Blues in the Premier League, making 175 senior appearances.

In January 2012 he signed for West Brom, where he played 78 times, before switching to the MLS with Portland Timbers in June 2014.

At the end of his first season in the MLS, he spent just over a month on loan with Wigan in the Championship, playing six times.

This year, he captained the Timbers to a third-place finish in the Western Conference, and fifth overall, securing a place in the 12-team 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Ridgewell's side beat Sporting Kansas City, Vancouver Whitecaps, FC Dallas and Columbus Crew in the final to be crowned US champions on 6th December - and writing in his Daily Mail column, the Londoner called it "the best feeling of my career".

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