Ryan relishing Belgium battle

Club Brugge goalkeeper Mat Ryan is looking forward to a return to action with the Socceroos when they face Belgium in Liege on Thursday night.

Ryan, who plies his trade in the European country, had a short journey to hook up with his Australian teammates ahead of their first match together since the World Cup in Brazil.

“It’s definitely an extra special occasion to be playing in the country when I play my club football,” Ryan told FourFourTwo.

“Bit like a home away from home. So looking forward to playing in front of some friends over here and it will be a good test to show what the World Cup experience has taught me and other players.”

Ryan is under no illusion that the 79th ranked Socceroos will be in for a fair test against a Belgian outfit ranked 11th in the world.

The Red Devils are also coming off a strong tournament in Brazil where they were eliminated by Argentina.

“Quarter finalists at the World Cup so no doubt we are facing another nation who is right up there in the world rankings,” Ryan said.

“We just need to take a look at their squad to recognise how good a team they are. I’m looking forward to getting into camp and working hard to develop as an individual and as a team.

“I look back at the World Cup as an incredible learning experience.

“I have now witnessed first-hand how good that level is, and I'll be looking to better myself from that experience for future opportunities down the track.”

Belgium will be without Thomas Vermaelen, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku for the friendly but will field the likes of  skipper Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne, Adnan Januzaj and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Ryan has enjoyed a good start to the new Belgian Pro League season with Club Brugge having lost just one of its opening five matches.

The Blue-Backs also recently qualified for the Europa League, after defeating Grasshoppers over two legs, and have been grouped with Torino, HJK  Helsinki and FC Kopenhagen.

“As a footballer you always want to be challenging yourself,” the former Central Coast Mariners custodian said.

“The Europa League group stage will be another format where myself and the team will be able to test ourselves against some of the premier teams throughout Europe. I can't wait for the opportunity.

“I think we are in with a good chance (in our group). I think all four teams would fancy themselves.”

The Socceroos play Belgium on Thursday at Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Leige, from 8.45pm (4.45am Friday AEST) and Saudi Arabia on Monday September 8 at Craven Cottage, London 8pm (5am Tuesday AEST) with both matches to be broadcast live on Fox Sports.