Socceroo goalkeeper Mat Ryan has described the recent performances of Ante Covic helping Western Sydney to success in the Asian Champions League as inspiring.
Covic was in outstanding form in Asia, keeping Al-Hilal at bay to secure the continental title over two legs.
The displays of the veteran keeper has led to calls from many, including former Socceroo custodian Mark Bosnich, for Covic’s inclusion in the Socceroos squad.
Bosnich recently accused national team boss Ange Postecoglou of hypocrisy over his overlooking of the 39-year old who has two Socceroo caps.
“The reason I was screaming the house down with Ante is that, number one, he's been outstanding and got the Asian player of the tournament, [and] number two, Ange said he was going to pick players on form and he hasn't done that with Ante," Bosnich told The Sydney Morning Herald.
"I know he's said he has to think about the qualifiers for the Russia World Cup and I understand that. The fact that Ange took over a side in a rejuvenation process and had to speed that up is difficult for him.
“We all need to keep an eye on the future but the most important thing is now. During the World Cup we were thinking about the Asian Cup, but the Asian Cup is the most important thing right now."
Ryan, who is set to be Australia’s No 1 at the Asian Cup, told FourFourTwo it is not up to him to say who should be in the Socceroo squad but any player in form should be considered.
“He [Covic] certainly has been in good form,” the Club Brugge keeper said.
“His performances have been inspiring. That's not for me to decide though. If players are playing well they should definitely be considered in any position.”
Ryan has conceded 16 goals from 23 appearances this season, with 12 cleansheets. Covic has conceded eight goals from three A-League apperances, with 10 goals conceded and 10 cleansheets from 14 Asian Champions League matches.
Postecoglou recently told the media that he doesn’t “close the door on anybody”.
“Everybody has got an opportunity, but from my perspective I started something in terms of regenerating, which I’ve got to stay true to,” he said.
“We’re looking at a four-year cycle until the next World Cup. The majority of players I pick have got to be able to withstand that four-year cycle. At the same time, I’m pretty happy with the way Maty Ryan is going.
“Maty in particular his side are second in the Belgian first division, they’re going well in Europa and he’s a big part of that. The last time he played for us against UAE he kept a clean sheet, so he’s developing into a really good goalkeeper for us.”
Ryan missed the Socceroos 1-0 loss to Qatar, with Mitch Langerak in goals, but is expected to start against Japan on Tuesday.
“It's always nice receiving positive feedback but I have my expectations of my performances so I generally know when I felt I could have done better or if I have done well,” Ryan said.
“And I’m always open to constructive criticism.”
The 22-year old is expecting a very tough game against Japan, who beat Honduras 6-0 in a friendly on Friday.
“They have some great technical players and lack nothing in the physicality aspects from what I have seen in recent clashes between the Socceroos and japan,” Ryan said.
“It’s just as important as any other game we play. It's our final preparation game and I'm sure the boss will be using the extra training time to fine- tune a few things and get the new guys in the squad across on his philosophy.
“I believe the result could provide some momentum to the team coming out on top going into the asian cup. Losses are always difficult to deal with but that's in the past and we are all eager to atone for that game with doing australia proud versus Japan.”comments