Why Ryan McGowan and the Souttar family ‘go way back’
Despite only having linked up in Socceroos camp a couple of times, defenders Ryan McGowan and Harry Souttar hold a long-standing relationship that goes back many years.
A product of the South Australian Sports Institute, McGowan moved to Scottland as a 16-year-old to chase a professional career with Heart of Midlothian.
After 57 appearances for the club and winning a Scottish Cup, McGowan moved to Shandong Luneng Taishan in China before returning to Scotland with Dundee United.
It was at Dundee where McGowan was first introduced to the Souttar family. Both Harry and his brother John Souttar started their professional careers with The Tangerines.
While John opted to represent Scotland, Harry chose to represent Australia - the country of their mother’s birth.
McGowan told Socceroos.com.au how happy he was to be playing with Harry again and joked about who the better brother is.
“When I was at Dundee United, Harry was just a baby giraffe back then,” Mcgowan said.
“He was so uncoordinated that it wasn’t funny.
“I actually played with his older brother John, who is the better Souttar, when Harry was just a young boy so we do go way back.
It’s good to see how well he has progressed. He’s one with a massive, massive future.”
Prior to making his Socceroos debut, Harry had never set foot in Australia but with six goals in his first nine senior appearances, the Stoke City defender has quickly become a star for the Green and Gold.
He has embraced the camaraderie and mateship that Graham Arnold has created within the camp to become a mainstay in the heart of Australia’s defence.
McGowan explained just how much he enjoys meeting up with Souttar and his Socceroos teammates in camp.
“Everyone is excited because we don’t get to see each other for a couple of weeks,” McGowan explained.
We are like school kids who just want to get out there and play with their friends.
“It’s a really close-knit family we have in this camp and all the players really look forward to meeting up.”
With four games played, Australia are approaching the halfway point of their round three FIFA World Cup qualifiers - and the journey continues with two more huge fixtures in just a few weeks' time.
The Socceroos will next be in action on November the 11th against Saudi Arabia. Football Australia are currently in advanced discussions with the NSW Government to seal a long-awaited homecoming for the match.
It has been over two years since Australia's men's national team last played on home soil, and the country's support will be needed as the top two sides in Group B battle it out.