Reliable at the back: Mat Ryan. Photo: Brendan EspositoSocceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who has been linked to Spanish club Valencia, has paid tribute to his predecessor Mark Schwarzer who is in his second decade as a top-flight goalie.
Ryan credited Schwarzer for taking time out during the national team camps they attended together to ensure he was on the right path as a younger player to maximise what has the potential to be a long and prosperous career.
And there were rumours out of Europe overnight that Ryan’s career could be headed in a new direction after Valencia were said to have cast their attention towards the Australian after Manchester United goalie Victor Valdes’ demands to join them were dismissed as unreasonable.
Ryan has never hidden the fact he wanted to push himself and he even told Fairfax Media in a previous interview: “There’s no point hiding the fact that I wanted to challenge myself at the highest level. I’m an ambitious person, and playing at the World Cup and going so far in the Europa League [narrowly losing to beaten finalists Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the quarter-final] has only strengthened that.
“But if you’re going to move, you should only move when it’s right for you and when it’s good for you. If that’s this year or next year, I honestly don’t know.”
While Ryan said he was in a fortunate position to have plenty of good people to seek out for advice he said some words from Schwarzer, who is playing for English Premier League team Leicester City at 42, resonated and they seemed to have helped the Belgium-based stopper when it comes to making decisions .
“Working with Mark when we were in camp for the national team was a great eye-opener,” said the 23-year-old during a recent visit to Australia while on a break from Club Brugge.
“He showed me a lot of the little things that makes a difference and he was happy for me to pick his brain about playing in Europe when I wanted to make my move overseas – and that wasgreat.
“What really rubbed off on me though was his desire to play because I remember when he was linked to Arsenal and a few other of those big clubs he rejected their offers because he wanted to be at a club where he’d play and where he’d be their No.1 and I have a similar attitude.
“I always want to be out there, showcasing what I have to offer, winning games and being part of the team and on the pitch playing and Mark stressed the importance of me going to a club where I would get to play.”
Ryan said Schwarzer and Tim Cahill were two senior Socceroos players who had provided him with invaluable insights into the importance of big decisions.
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