EXCLUSIVE: Mathew Ryan is eyeing off a permanent hold on the Socceroos’ number one jumper after featuring in the 1-0 win over Costa Rica recently.
The Club Brugge goalkeeper played the entire 90 minutes in Ange Postecoglou’s first game as head coach of Australia, and admits he was somewhat surprised to see out the full game.
“I didn’t even know I was playing until the day of the game and we had a team meeting,” Ryan said.
“He (Ange) just put the team that was starting up on the whiteboard and fortunately my name was between the sticks, and I didn’t know if I was playing 45 minutes or 90 minutes.
“I just went out about my business and I wasn’t notified at half-time that I was coming off, so I just went out there and took the field and I was just happy to play a full game.”
Ryan now has four caps for the Socceroos and says representing Australia while playing in his hometown of Sydney was an experience he will treasure.
“It was good to be involved in the national set up again,” the 21-year old said.
“To get the game-time was something I probably didn’t expect a few weeks ago.
“Everything seems to be working out for me with club and country at the moment.
“The Costa Ricans, I was very thankful to be given the opportunity to play and it will probably be a game I’ll never forget.”
Mark Schwarzer’s international retirement has thrown open the Socceroos’ goalkeeping spot with former Mariners custodian Ryan, and Borussia Dortmund reserve keeper Mitch Langerak, the two main contenders.
Ryan may have the edge over the Germany-based Langerak because he is getting regular game time with Club Brugge.
“Since (Schwarzer's) retirement I’ve sort of had to reassess my goals a little bit with the national team,” Ryan said.
“The position there is now open for someone to stake their claim for. There’s no clear number one any more.
“Obviously all of us goalkeepers who are all vying for that spot want to cement it for the future for the upcoming World Cup. I’m glad that I had first opportunity against Costa Rica to play and hopefully he’s pleased with what I had to offer and I get an opportunity to keep playing in that position in the future.”
Ryan believes the Socceroos responded very well to Postecoglou’s first match in charge of the national team.
“In football everyone knows when a new coach comes in it’s a clean slate, no positions are really guaranteed and I think he’s done a good job in making that clear in terms of no-one having cemented a spot in the squad,” he said.
“We had a full week under him before the game and he was just getting the information across to us players in terms of feeding information in how he wants us to play and going through step by step on each position on the field.
“He wanted the while group to understand the way it’s played not certain individuals that say played the full 90 minutes. He wanted everyone to get an understanding and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of opportunities for all the players to get some game time and show what they have to offer.”