Socceroo goalkeeper Mat Ryan voted best in Belgium
Ryan was named in Ange Postecoglou’s squad, and is widely being tipped to be given the number one shirt in Brazil, after an outstanding debut season in Europe.
Selection was capped off by the Club Brugge star and former Mariners custodian winning the Professional Footballers’ Goalkeeper of Year gong in Belgium, which is voted on by the players.
“It’s been a big day here,” Ryan said.
“Plenty of news and I’m really happy. Being voted on by colleagues here in the league, that makes it extra special because you’ve gained their respect and I must have been doing something right in the season.”
Club Brugge has two more playoff games to go and remains a chance of claiming the Belgium championship.
“I’d love to win the championship with the club first and it would be a bit of a momentum going into the World Cup,” Ryan said.
Club Brugge beat Standard Liege 1-0 on the weekend and face Genk and Zulte-Waregem in their final two fixtures.
“We’re now in the do or die phase of the season,” Ryan said.
“If we don’t get the wins we can sort of kiss the championship goodbye.
“I think our performance reflected that on Sunday, we were under the pump for the large majority of the game but we hung in there and fought hard, and we took the chance that we had.
“It was a really gutsy effort I thought.”
If Anderlecht draw or lose one of their last two games, and Club Brugge win both of theirs, then Ryan’s side will be champions.
“We’re just hoping for Anderlecht to drop points in either of their last two games and for us to have maximum points, and then it would be ours if that’s the case,” he said.
Club Brugge’s final game is on May 18 and Ryan will be flying out to join the Socceroos the following day.
“It’s hard not to think about the upcoming World Cup, but I’m doing my best just to stay focused on the present,” the 22-year old said.
“I’d love to take some silverware to the tournament in Brazil, with the championship with the club here, that’s my main focus at the moment.
“(But) obviously going back home to see the family and friends and close ones again before I’m off again to another big adventure that I’m looking forward to.”