History-maker Ryan has only just begun after ‘special moment’

Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan said it was a ‘special moment’ to play his 50th cap for Australia, but insisted this is only the beginning of his hard work.

When Ryan started in goals against Oman, he became the youngest ever Australian player to reach 50 ‘A’ International caps for the Socceroos in senior international fixtures — aged 26 years and 266 days.

The 26-year-old reflected on the achievement and his career thus far in the Green and Gold, but was hungrier than ever to kick on and bring success to the Socceroos.

“Without trying to sound cliche, my dream came true,” said Ryan.

“My first camp that I had, my first cap that I received so long ago, and now the thought of receiving 50 is a little surreal to be honest.

“I’m very proud and honoured of the achievement — any time you’re fortunate enough to represent our country is something that means a lot to me and is a very special moment.

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“Life has a funny way of working out sometimes and you never know what’s around the corner. I’ll be doing my best to keep myself mentally and physically fresh enough to try and make my 51st appearance as a Socceroo, and I can’t wait for this tournament to get underway.”

‘I don’t believe you ever stop learning’

It’s no surprise Ryan shows such humility off the field, considering he is one of the most mature players on it.

Having begun his junior football in Sydney’s west, Ryan was given a chance by Graham Arnold at the Central Coast Mariners in the Hyundai A-League and grabbed it with both hands — literally.

Seven years later, and with more than 200 club appearances under his belt across Australia, Belgium, Spain and England, Ryan is now the first-choice shot-stopper for Brighton and Hove Albion in the English Premier League.

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Ryan has his mind firmly fixed on improving himself for the future.

“I’m thoroughly enjoying my football. When you get to do it at a level I’m currently at, it makes all the dedication and sacrifices worth it,” said Ryan.

“I’m just going in — day in, day out — trying to do my absolute best to do what’s required to do well at that level.

“And I guess it’s a little unknown in terms of what’s in front of me. I’m learning from every experience, I never stop learning and I don’t believe you ever stop learning throughout one’s life.

“That’s the attitude I’ve always had and I will continue to do that moving forward, and there’ll be a lot of memories that we can create through being successful both here in the national team and at club level.”