Mat Ryan says an off-season trip home to Australia with family and friends has him primed for a big year ahead for Brighton and the Caltex Socceroos.
The 27-year-old shot-stopper has rarely had an off-season break in recent years as he mixes Premier League football with his commitments with Australia, including last year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Caltex Socceroos boss Graham Arnold left Ryan out of Australia’s recently clash with Korea Republic, allowing him the chance to re-charge the batteries.
And Ryan made the most of the opportunity, coming back to Australia to spend time with family before starting preparations for next season’s Premier League campaign with the Seagulls.
“It’s been exactly what the doctor ordered because it’s been six years since I had a full summer break – the pressure towards the end of last season meant I took the decision to take the rest that was offered to me by Graham Arnold, the coach of my national side,” Ryan told Brighton and Hove Albion’s official website.
“It’s about recharging the batteries at the moment and taking my mind off football to allow me to come back fresh both physically and mentally, and it’s been good so far.
“It’s vital in life to get the balance right, you have the pressure of playing Premier League football and everything that comes with that – it’s always nice to get away and enjoy time away from the field and the smaller things in life.
“In my case, I’ve moved back closer to a part of the world where my family and friends are, so it’s been really enjoyable.”
Ryan played 34 games for the Seagulls last season as they secured their EPL status with a couple of games to go.
It followed his debut season in England’s top-flight in which the former Central Coast Mariners gloveman played every minute of every match.
And he’s likely to be between the sticks for Brighton’s opening match of the new campaign, which is away to Watford after the fixtures for the 2019/20 were confirmed this week.
The Seagulls, who have a new manager in Graeme Potter, have only clinched victory in one of their opening league fixtures to a top-flight season in the last 39 years.
“You always want to kickstart your campaign in the best possible way with a positive result – we didn’t have success there last time but we’ll be out to change that,” Ryan said.