Mathew Ryan was one of the youngest goalkeepers at the FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil.
But four years on, the dependable Brighton and Hove Albion number one will be the bedrock of Bert van Marwijk’s side in Russia.
After accruing a wealth of experience following his tournament debut in 2014, Ryan has urged the Caltex Socceroos to back themselves when Australia’s FIFA World Cup™ campaign begins against France on Saturday evening.
“One of the biggest things I did learn from my experience from Brazil is not trying to change too much as a player or within games,” Ryan told socceroos.com.au.
“You’re here for a reason, you’ve been picked for a reason – for your club form or recent games – so I’d give them the advice of not thinking they need to raise their level or change their game to compete at this level against the world’s biggest and best teams.
“It’s just doing what you’ve done, what’s enabled you to get here and obviously keep an open mind to each day and each experience to learn and grow.”
Although it might not be as intimidating as 2014’s Group B line up of Spain, Netherlands and Chile, the Group C trio of France, Denmark and Peru represents another challenging assignment for Australia if they are to progress past the group stage for the first time since 2006.
However, the Caltex Socceroos have slowly but surely been gathering confidence and momentum in the long build up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, and Ryan says coming up against elite opposition has forged a prudent mentality within the playing ranks.
“Most recently in the past, when we’ve come up against big teams and big players, having been successful against them in the past we’ve taken on a personal lesson – or at least I have.
“If you play to the level that you know you can as an individual and you can as a team, you can compete with the best in the world.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to discover that many times this season with my club, and with the Socceroos also when we’ve had games against Germany after the 2014 World Cup and Chile in the Confederations Cup where we’ve been right in the games.
“Those experiences and having success against those teams in the past gives you more belief and confidence that if you go out there, fulfil your roles and the principles of what the coaching staff want and sustain that at a high level, we believe we can go and get a result.”
Keep up to date with the team as they face France in Kazan on Saturday:
Caltex Socceroos Official Twitter - @Socceroos
Caltex Socceroos Official Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Socceroos/
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