The Premier League returns this weekend with a few Caltex Socceroos set to be in action, including goalkeeper Mat Ryan.
The shot-stopper enjoyed a superb debut campaign in the EPL with Brighton & Hove Albion last season and will again be the Seagulls No.1 in 2018/19.
AUSSIES ABROAD: Leckie scores twice in Hertha's big pre-season win
With 10 clean sheets across his 38 league appearances, Ryan made an incredible 124 saves (3.3 per game) which saw him rank third in the entire Premier League.
Ryan was crucial for his team, pulling off two penalties saves – including a season-defining one in stoppage time stop to deny Stoke City’s Charlie Adam to secure a draw for his side.
Chris Hughton’s men surprised many by surviving relegation last season but will now look to build on their 15th-place finish, which included memorable wins over Arsenal and Manchester United.
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION’S PRE-SEASON RESULTS
St Gallen 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Crawley Town 0-3 Brighton & Hove Albion
AFC Wimbledon 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Charlton Athletic 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Portsmouth 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Birmingham City 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Nice 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Nantes
After a string of excellent outings for the Caltex Socceroos in Russia, Ryan had a well-deserved holiday, which included a stop back in Australia where he took in a spot of fishing.
It wasn’t until July 19 that he returned to England and immediately got back into training with Hughton’s squad, who already had three pre-season clashes under their belt.
“It’s come around so fast and I feel like I haven't stopped since last season, but I’m tremendously excited after all the experiences we went through during the last campaign,” Ryan said in an interview on Brighton’s official website.
“Coming into this season, there’s the same challenge of going out there and giving our all.
“Hopefully we can show what we learned from our first season and implement those lessons.
“We’ve had a few changes of personnel and hopefully that’s strengthened the squad to give us a better chance of building on what we did last time.”
Ryan, 26, has featured in the last four games for Brighton, including the most recent match against French Ligue 1 side Nantes, which ended in a 2-1 win for the Seagulls.
Brighton opens their campaign on the road, travelling to London to play Watford at midnight on Saturday (AEST).
Degenek not taking his foot off the gas
Twelve months ago, Caltex Socceroos defender Milos Degenek was playing in Japan — now, he’s tearing up Serbia’s SuperLiga, having been named in the league’s best eleven for the first half of the season. It’s a credit to Degenek, 24, who signed with Red Star Belgrade in July
Degenek named in Serbian Superliga's best XI
Caltex Socceroos defender Milos Degenek has been named in the Serbian Superliga’s best eleven players of the first half of the season after his performances for Red Star Belgrade. AUSSIES ABROAD: Sainsbury denies former club Inter in first UCL start READ MORE: Where you can w
FFA to conduct additional injury assessment with Aaron Mooy
Football Federation Australia (FFA) acknowledges Huddersfield Town’s statement regarding Aaron Mooy released on Thursday morning (AEDT). Due to the significance of the AFC Asian Cup to the Caltex Socceroos, FFA will proceed with a plan to deploy its High Performance Coordina
Aussies Abroad: Rogic and Vukovic progress to Europa League Round of 32
The Europa League Round of 32 will have an Aussie flavour after Tom Rogic and Danny Vukovic both sealed their progression to the knockout stage of Europe’s second-tier competition. Rogic played 90 minutes as Celtic did it the hard way, their 2-1 loss at the hands of FC Salzbur