The 2017/18 English Premier League season kicks off this weekend with Caltex Socceroos number one Mat Ryan set to face EPL big guns Manchester City for his new club Brighton and Hove Albion.
RYAN HITS THE BIG TIME
Ryan joined newly promoted Brighton for their first season in the Premier League.
The Caltex Socceroos stopper arrived in June for a then club-record five-million pound fee on a five-year deal from his Spanish club Valencia (he spent the last half of last season on loan at a Belgian club).
The ambitious Seagulls have since signed Dutch midfielder Davy Propper from PSV Eindhoven for a reported six million pounds, and were active in the transfer market this week as they look to strengthen for what will surely be a massive test of their credentials.
There'll be a baptism of fire for Ryan as Brighton welcome Manchester City to Falmer Stadium on opening weekend this Sunday morning (AEDT).
Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho.
Imagine that lot running at you with ball at feet! Then there's Gabriel Jesus.
Ryan will have to draw on all his athleticism and ability to repel their combined forces.
A SIZZLING SEASON START
PICKING UP POINTS
Following that, Brighton visit Leicester City and Watford.
Then it’s onto Caltex Socceroos duty for crucial World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Thailand before a return to Brighton to round out the first month of the season at home to West Bromwich Albion and away to Bournemouth.
That's not a bad run of games.
History would suggest a club that’s likely to be among the relegation contenders (as Brighton are) stand a far higher chance of survival if they can collect early points.
That way, they don't get dragged into a battle late in the season to avoid the trap-door straight back into the Championship.
MATY MUST STAND TALL
Ryan will be absolute crucial to the Seagulls' campaign.
He is a direct replacement for David Stockdale who has moved to Birmingham City after three seasons as undisputed number one at Brighton.
With newly-promoted sides often taking time to adjust to the pace of the Premier League, Ryan's goal will regularly come under siege.
As he has previously for the Central Coast Mariners, Club Brugge, Genk and the Caltex Socceroos, Australia's top 'keeper will have to be at the very top of his game.
A mistake in a friendly against Atletico Madrid wasn't expected, but Ryan recovered to win the sponsor's man of the match award.
Mat Ryan has an exciting season ahead as the best in the world come up against this most ambitious of clubs from the south coast of England.