Caltex Socceroos and Brighton Hove and Albion goalkeeper has shared the secrets to his penalty saving approach in a Sky Sports television appearance in England.
With the Premier League season getting underway this weekend — with Brighton set to travel to Watford on Sunday morning AEST — Ryan appeared alongside host David Jones, ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher and a former boss in Valencia CF in Gary Neville.
The Aussie, who saved two spot kicks in his debut Premier League campaign, gave some tips to both former England internationals before they faced off in a penalty battle — with the loser to wear their arch rival’s kit on the opening night of Friday Night Football.
Here’s Ryan’s advise and insight for Neville and Carragher …
Jones: A penalty has been awarded, what are you thinking about?
Ryan: In today’s day and age — with technology and that — we do everything we can to give ourselves the best chance of saving [the penalty]. We try to educate ourselves on who their penalty takers will be before the match, looking for any patterns …
Carragher: Do you ever forget? Goalkeepers are given so much information — do you ever have that where you forget where he’ll put it?
Ryan: I haven’t up until now. Generally, when you look at the penalty takers, it’s the main ones and usually they’ll stay on [the pitch all game]. It’s the top two or three and if you’re looking at a team like Manchester United you know they’ve got Paul Pogba or Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford and these guys are quite easy to remember.
In my experience, I haven’t forgotten but we’re so thorough in what we do. There was a penalty last season — Charlie Austin against Stoke — he didn’t start the match but he came off the bench. I remember [Stoke] had a list of about seven or eight players who could take penalties at the club and thankfully at the right time it came to me where he liked to go.
Carragher: We obviously look at goalkeepers and how they like to look at video; but strikers look at goalkeepers as well. So if we’re talking about Harry Kane for example and we know more often than not he’ll go a certain side, do you ever think to yourself that you’ll change your mind?
Jones: Are there tells?
Ryan: I think it’s important to also have an open mind. Strikers know we’re watching this stuff and a good penalty taker will mix it up also and play to the occasion and the circumstance. At the end of the day you need a little bit of luck — that the decision you make and the side you go, the person taking the penalty has made the same decision.
Jones: You might recognise this guy [Gary Neville] because he used to manage you at Valencia. Just by how he’s standing, what can you tell about which side he might go?
Ryan: When I was a kid, I was told that if the run up was on more of an angle, being a right footer, he would be going to my right. The straighter the run up, the more likely he’ll open up his hips and hit it to the keeper’s left. That’s what I learned growing up but in this day and age [it’s different].
Jones: If you’re not sure, should you guess or should you stay in the middle and only go when he kicks it?
Ryan: It all depends on the decision the [penalty taker] makes because a lot of penalties these days, they’re smashing it up the middle. The keeper has to make an educated guess based on what he’s feeling in the moment and on the homework he’s done and remember what Gary’s pattern might be.