'There’s always something new to achieve': Ryan reflects on meteoric rise
Taking to the field in a baggy, oversized kit and gloves that looked probably a few sizes too big – the teenage Mathew Ryan was an unforgettable sight on his Hyundai A-League debut.
Little did Ryan know that August match against Sydney FC in 2010 would prove to be the starting point of a journey to the highest echelon of the world game.
The former Central Coast Mariners man admits he still has to pinch himself sometimes, as well as take a moment to reflect on a remarkable career to date.
“Time’s always going so fast and there’s not too many moments where you get to step back and take in what you’ve done and what you’ve achieved,” he said.
“I’ve always had the attitude where you achieve something in a certain moment, you enjoy it for that moment but as long as my body and my mind is willing and able to, there’s always something new to achieve.”
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Ryan’s next challenge is set to arrive this Saturday night, when Australia host Korea Republic at Suncorp Stadium in the team’s first match on home soil in over a year.
The fixture also serves as Head Coach Graham Arnold’s first match in Australia as new boss, and a chance for the Caltex Socceroos to showcase their new attacking style under the 55-year-old.
“The boys are working hard and there’s a good vibe around the training pitch and camp, and it’s easy to see the progress we’re making.
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“Korea Republic is going to be another example of that.”
The state of play can change swiftly in football. However, you don’t need to remind Ryan of that fact ahead of Saturday evening’s game.
Australia will revisit the scene of their 1-0 Group A defeat to Korea Republic in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, but the 26-year-old rejects the notion that the result will cast a shadow upon their return.
“A lot has changed since then,” he said.
“You see constantly in football - take Milos Degenek for example - they play Liverpool away from home.
“The result doesn’t quite go their way and couple weeks later you look at the result there and it’s a different game.
“I don’t think that’s [defeat to Korea Republic in the group stage 2015] going to take any toll on this match.”