Ryan McGivern had the distinction of winning a senior Northern Ireland cap three years before he made his City first team debut.
In fact, the Newry-born left-back had a wealth of lower league experience before finally making his bow against Sunderland in April 2011. It’s been a long road in many ways.
McGivern was born in County Down on 8 January 1990 and after impressing at junior levels, he was invited by recruitment chief Barry Poynton to join the Blues’ Academy as a 14-year-old.
He steadily rose through the ranks with his solid and assured style and was a key part of the City Under-18 side that won the 2008 FA Youth Cup, but he would have to wait patiently for his chance at senior level.
He had done enough, however, to earn a shock call-up to the Northern Ireland senior squad in August 2008 and when George McCartney was ruled out with injury, the City graduate was handed a debut against Scotland.
He had never made a senior appearance for anyone by that point so it was quite an achievement and he made his debut a day to forget when he was sent off for two bookable offences!
In October 2008, he was offered the chance to gain vital league experience with a loan move to Morecambe, managed by Sammy McIllroy, for whom he played six times as well as scoring his first league goal, before returning to City.
McGivern had done enough at Morecambe to convince manager Mark Hughes he was worth a place on the subs bench for the home game with Fulham in April 2009, but he remained unused on the day.
The-then 18 year-old couldn’t have imagined it would be exactly two years before he’d get his chance again with the Blues’ senior side!
McGivern was off on his travels again in August 2009, joining Leicester City, initially on a six-month loan that would eventually be extended to a season-long stint. He played 16 times for the Foxes before returning to City.
The in-demand defender then spent six months with Walsall before returning to the Blues and finally making his debut for his parent club, replacing Dedryck Boyata on 70 minutes during the 5-0 win over Sunderland.
Further loan spells followed with Crystal Palace and currently Bristol City, where McGivern will spend the rest of the 2011/12 campaign.
With 13 international caps under his belt and 52 senior appearances for various clubs, he is already enjoying a decent career – whether he will resume his career at City again remains to be seen.