Ryan backing Caltex Socceroos preparation as Honduras looms

Goalkeeper Mat Ryan feels the Caltex Socceroos’ arduous journey through AFC World Cup qualifying will be an advantage for next month’s Intercontinental Playoff against Honduras.

The Caltex Socceroos take on the Central Americans on November 11 (AEDT) in Honduras, before the return leg in Sydney just four days later, with the winner of the two legs to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The conditions and travel are set to play a factor for both nations for the make-or-break tie, but Ryan believes the Caltex Socceroos have the edge.

“Being an Australian, travel has really become the norm so it doesn’t really feel like a factor,” the gloveman said.

“Perhaps we might even have a slight advantage as we are used to traveling long distances in between games, and perhaps in Central America with the countries being a lot closer the Honduran team might face a new challenge of having to travel so far to back up a few days later.

“But no doubt I’m expecting a hostile crowd due to the enormity of the game and it will be another challenge we have to overcome if we want to get ourselves to Russia.”

Having Ryan between the sticks will be a huge advantage for Ange Postecoglou’s men, with the 25-year-old in excellent form for Brighton in the Premier League.

Mat Ryan
Mat Ryan has been excellent for Brighton in the Premier League.

After a tricky start, Ryan has settled in beautifully to the rigours of the EPL and is emerging as one of the stars of Brighton’s campaign.

While his immediate focus is on his club side’s clash with Southampton this weekend, he can’t help but have one eye on Australia’s date with destiny next month.

Asked about what he expects from Honduras, Ryan said: “The first things that come to mind would be that I presume they’d be of a similar style to their South American neighbours.

“They’ll be very technical and fast and playing a lot of short, quick passes to try get around their opponents.

“When we get in to camp the staff will provide all that is needed to educate ourselves on what we need to know about them. “