Ryan's Spanish inquisition of a footballing kind

Playing 21 games in season 2015-16 of Spain’s prestigious La Liga, Socceroo and Valencia goalkeeper Maty Ryan concedes his knowledge of the game had vastly improved in his first season at the club.

Being coached under Spanish national team and Valencia goalkeeping coach Jose Manuel Ochotorena who notably played as goalkeeper for Real Madrid and Valencia in the 1980s and has worked with the likes of Casillas, David De Gea and Pepe Reina, Ryan said he learnt a lot in just one season with Los Murcielagos.

The illustrious young goalkeeper signed for Valencia after an Asian Cup win with Australia and two years with Belgian side Club Brugge KV where he dominated between the sticks. 

Just when it looked like he had experience a lot, Ryan admitted the journey was still long, but was enjoying his career in Spain.

“I’ve discovered things in the art of goalkeeping I haven’t really thought about. Just little different technical and positioning aspects and these sorts of things,” Ryan said.

“In the games I’ve played also, the biggest thing I’ve learnt is how hard it is to win a game and just an enormous amount of abundancy with quality in the teams with individual skill and I’m loving the opportunities when I do get to play, I just try to embrace it.

“It’s been an adaptive year over there to be honest, learning a new language and being in a new league, one of the best leagues in the world. 

“I’ve faced a lot of challenges this year, things that I hadn’t had to deal with in my career today with injuries and those sorts of things. All in all I was pretty happy with how I performed with the game time that I did have.

“Looking at the positive side of things I’m just looking forward on building on that for next season hopefully and you have these games with the Socceroos first and foremost to focus on.”

With Ryan being the Socceroos first-choice goalkeeper since the 2014 World Cup, it seems he is now firmly in top contention to second-choice Mitch Langerak.

The 24-year-old now looks forward to playing in the friendly against England at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on Friday night.

It’s been 13 years since the two nations locked horns, the 3-1 victory Australia had at Upton Park was a special one for the Socceroos.

Now with a squad where the only member of the golden generation in Tim Cahill will not partake, it leaves a big chance for all the young players to test themselves under some of the best players in the world.

As coach Ange Postecoglou has proved since he took over in late 2013, that he is not afraid to give players a go. Showing with four uncapped men Jamie Maclaren (Brisbane Roar), Stefan Mauk (Adelaide United), Brad Inman (Crewe Alexandra FC) and Milos Degenek (1860 Munich).

Ryan said this game was crucial in testing themselves against stronger opposition, after the Socceroos thrashed both Tajikistan (7-0) and Jordan (5-1) in the World Cup qualifiers in March.

“What we’ve been doing since Ange has taken over, I think the progress is clear for all to see and in our past games against big nations, we’ve given those sides more than a run for their money,” he said.

“We’re still looking to build on that and the way we qualified for the recent group phase for the World Cup, we did it in fairly convincing style.

“Coming into this game it’s an opportunity for the new guys in the squad to stake their claim and for us to show we haven’t taken a backwards step. 

“We’re committed to the future plan and the ultimate goal one day is to win a World Cup and we have to come to foreign soil and play a team like England. If we want to make that dream believable, then we have to come out on Friday and put in a good performance.”

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