Born in Fenton, Staffordshire, in 1988, Ryan came through the ranks at local club Stoke City.

As a youngster, Ryan enjoyed loan spells with Altrincham (where he was Supporters’ Player of the Year), Tranmere Rovers and Barnsley.

He made his debut for Stoke on 26 August 2008 in a 3–2 victory over Cheltenham Town in the League Cup, coming on as a substitute in the 90th minute.

The defender was named on the Potters bench for the first time for a Premier League match against Wigan, a club he’d later represent, in 2010. He made his full Stoke debut in an FA Cup tie with Cardiff City a month later, describing his debut for his boyhood club ‘one of the proudest moments of [his] life.’

Establishing himself in the first team, Ryan was Stoke’s Young Player of the Year in 2012.

The 28-year-old joined Derby County in 2014, initially on loan before making the move permanent. He made the same switch to Birmingham two years later, first arriving on loan before signing on a permanent basis.

He endeared himself to City fans by dying his dreadlocks blue for a derby match against fierce rivals Aston Villa. It has been reported as one of his best games in a Blues shirt, a 1-1 draw at St Andrews.

Ryan was Birmingham’s top appearance-maker last season, featuring for The Blues 43 times.

He has played against Boro on three occasions, featuring in our 2-2 draw at Birmingham as the club closed in on promotion in April 2016, as well as twice for Derby County.

One of those Rams appearances saw Ryan dismissed for a foul on Patrick Bamford, with Boro winning 2-0 at the Riverside, while the other saw Johnny Russell score a last-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw at the iPro.

The versatile defender can play anywhere across the backline, while he has also been utilised as a makeshift striker at various points in his career – with over 20 goals to his name.

Ryan’s older brother, Liam, is also a footballer who played professionally in Singapore's S League and in non-league football in England.

Away from football, Ryan has spent time as a pub landlord – co-owning the Black Lion in the little Staffordshire village of Cheddleton.