He may be 17,000km away, but Australia still has a major part to play for Caltex Socceroo Mat Ryan as he makes his matchday preparations in England’s Premier League.
Ryan is in his second season with south-coast club Brighton & Hove Albion – known as the Seagulls – in England’s top flight and has emerged as one of the best glovemen in the EPL.
With the Premier League on a hiatus last weekend due to the international break, Ryan sat down with the Seagulls official website to discuss his meticulous game-day routine.
And despite not having played club football Down Under since 2013, Australia is still very much in his thoughts as he prepares to take on some of the world’s best clubs and players every weekend.
“On a matchday, I wake up and have some breakfast, then actually go for a little run down by the beach. It’s not quite an Australian beach, but it’s a beach nonetheless,” Ryan says.
“I just like to wake the body up and get a little bit of movement in the legs and arms. I get home and then use a foam roller to loosen the body up further.
“I also call my mum back in Australia to speak with her before the games. We catch up and she sends me her wishes and makes it clear she’s very proud of what I’m doing.
“After that quick chat, I’m then in the car and on my way to the stadium. We have our pre-match meal three-and-a-half hours before the game, we eat that and then relax together.
“Shortly before the warm-up I watch a few clips back and try to give myself a little more knowledge of what we’re going to face that day.”
It’s a routine Ryan has followed ever since he joined Chris Hughton’s side after their promotion to the Premier League for the start of the 2017/18 season.
For the 26-year-old, it is a ritual that not only brings out the best in him but also keeps him relaxed in the high-pressure environment of the EPL.
Ryan, who has also played at two FIFA World Cups and two AFC Asian Cup tournaments for Australia, knows the importance of being able to switch off and relax when away from football.
So how does the two-time NAB Young Footballer of the Year winner do that?
“I’m a general sports fan – I’m on that Lebron James bandwagon, but don't actually have a team in the NBA. I just like watching good players play,” says Ryan of his interest in watching US sport.
“I’d probably say baseball is the one American sport that I watch the least. I’ve been over to America, but haven't attended a game yet.
“I went to the Philadelphia Eagles v Jacksonville Jaguars [American Football] game at Wembley Stadium and that was another first for me. It was good to take in the atmosphere.
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“I’m also aware of the Atlanta Falcons having a quarterback named Matt Ryan, so they’ve got my support for that reason.
“I do like to come home from a game at the weekend, and if there’s a live game on Sky Sports, it’s nice to tune in and watch.”
Ryan is next in action with Brighton at 2am on Sunday (AEST) with a home clash against Southampton at the Amex Stadium.
The following week the Aussie gloveman is off to Wembley, with the Seagulls in an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, where he will no doubt make his mother proud once more.