Revitalised Ryan ready to rock at the champion Reds

New winger Ryan Kitto is ready to embrace the pressure of helping Adelaide United defend their Hyundai A-League double as an overhauled Reds squad prepare for Season 2016-17.

Kitto is one of eight new faces in Guillermo Amor’s squad ahead of the new campaign, with five of the 14 players involved in Adelaide’s grand final triumph over Western Sydney Wanderers having left Coopers Stadium.

Two scorers from that 3-1 victory have left in Bruce Kamau and Pablo Sanchez, as has lead striker Bruce Djite and club champion Craig Goodwin.

Hyundai A-League season preview: Adelaide United

While Henrique and James Holland replace some of that A-League experience, Amor has predominantly signed youngsters with potential – like Kitto – in Ben Garuccio, Marc Marino, Jesse Makarounas and Nikola Mileusnic.

Adelaide will have a target on their backs this season – a rare experience for the South Australian outfit – but Kitto, 22, believes the Reds’ young brigade can handle it.

Ryan Kitto and Marc Marino

“There’s pressure on us because, obviously, the team was successful last year, and it’s the job of the new players like myself to come in, hopefully add to the team and take the team to further success this season,” he told Goal Australia.

Adelaide’s recruitment has also targeted local players with Kitto, Marino, Mileusnic and Garuccio all having grown up in South Australia.

Kitto made his A-League debut for the Reds in 2013 but had to drop down to NPL South Australia to get another crack at Australia’s top tier, with the versatile forward thriving at West Torrens Birkalla (17 goals, 28 games) before signing for Newcastle Jets last season as an injury replacement player.

Despite missing pre-season, Kitto played 18 matches for the Jets, scoring two goals and setting up another four as he finished the campaign as one of Newcastle’s best players.

“It’s crazy how things happen,” he said.

“One minute, you don’t think you’re going to get that opportunity and then I was lucky enough to get that opportunity.

“So I was very grateful, and I went over there wondering if I could have an impact at A-League level and I came back knowing that I can.”

Ryan Kitto

Back in Adelaide Kitto believes he is a much different individual to 12 months ago and hopes to take his game to another level in 2016-17.

“Mentally I’m much more prepared, much stronger and like I said, I know if I put my head to it, I have the ability to have an impact on the A-League,” he said.

With Goodwin, Kamau, Sanchez, Djite, Eli Babalj and Mate Dugandzic having left Coopers Stadium, Kitto looks set to be a regular on the right in Amor’s attacking set-up.

Adelaide’s coach – a former midfielder with Barcelona – has quickly impressed Kitto, who claims Amor, 48, has no trouble handling himself in the Reds’ training games.

“He’s very humble and quiet and he filters the information he gives to you. So everything he gives to you, you need to take on board and it’s all very valuable pieces of information,” Kitto said.

Guillermo Amor will depart the Adelaide United.

“He’s helped me in the attacking third to make the right decisions.”

Adelaide will start their defence of the A-League premiership and championship with a trip to Kitto’s former club Newcastle on Sunday.