Ryan McGowan

Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng FC

Team: Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng

Age: 27

Position: Centre back

Nationality: Australian

Former team: Henan Jianye

Australian international Ryan McGowan started his youth career at hometown club Para Hills Knights from Adelaide. He was also a part of the Football Federation South Australia’s own academy. After breaking through to the Para Hills first team he was sold to Scottish Premier League club Heart of Midlothian, or Hearts for short, in 2006. He captained the Scottish club’s Under-19 side. He made his first team debut in the SPL against Gretna on the 13th of May 2008.

McGowan was loaned out to newly-promoted Ayr United in the second tier. He played 28 league matches as Ayr were relegated straight back down to the third tier.
After half a season with little playing time in the 2010/11 season McGowan once again took the step down a division as he joined Partick Thistle in February that season on a three-month loan deal.

Upon returning to Hearts in April he turned out six more times for the Edinburgh-side that season.

The following 11/12 season was to be McGowan’s breakout season. A versatile defender, McGowan was used mostly on either fullback position and he played right back as Hearts won the Scottish FA Cup, beating Edinburgh-rivals Hibernians 5-1, McGowan chipped in with a goal and an assist. McGowan had a total of nine assists in 38 matches across all competitions that season.

The next season McGowan was used a little in midfield but mostly played right back for Hearts. Chinese club Shandong Luneng were pleased with his play and bought him in January of 2013, giving him a two-year contract.

Shandong moved McGowan back into the centre back position. McGowan played every game, bar one in that first season. The following season he was not used as much but still played both legs of the Chinese Cup Final as Shandong beat Jiangsu Sainty 5-4 on aggregate.

Despite good performances Shandong decided not to renew his contract when it ran out after the 2014 season and McGowan found himself club-hunting.

A return to Scotland followed as Dundee United wanted his services, he signed for them on 23 January 2015. However, his spell in Scotland wouldn’t last long as almost exactly one year later he was sold back to China and Henan Jianye.

He didn’t stay long here either, once again just about a year, as he was released by Henan in January this year.

Despite his last two short term stays he played almost every single game for both clubs and now Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng can enjoy his versatility as the newly promoted side look to stay up with McGowan deployed as a centre back. He has played the full 90-minutes in every single of Henan’s seven matches so far this season, and the newly promoted side are sitting in 12th, three points above the relegation zone.

About the Author

Ola Bjerkevoll
Norwegian studying sports journalism in England. Lover of all football, especially Chinese, German and Oceanian. Twitter: @olabje