Oman’s former English Premier League goal-keeper Ali Al Habsi has given Socceroo shot-stopper Mat Ryan a ringing endorsement to make it in the EPL.
Al Habsi, who played in the EPL with Wigan and Bolton, has been impressed with the young Aussie gloveman and is adamant he has the talent to make it in England.
According to reports in the UK press last week, Ryan is on the radar of English giants Liverpool about the prospect of replacing their current no.1 Simon Mignolet.
While only 22, Ryan is in superb form in Belgium with Club Brugge, taking out the competition’s best goalkeeper of the year award last week for a second straight year.
“He’s brilliant,” said Al Habsi, who made more than 100 appearances in the EPL.
“He has been fantastic in the World Cup and here in the Asian Cup.”
Al Habsi got a close up look at Ryan when the Socceroos demolished Oman 4-0 in the group stage of the AFC Asian Cup last week.
Ryan pulled off a stunning save to keep out Raed Saleh’s volley after just two minutes before the Socceeroos went on to record a comfortable win.
The ex-Central Coast Mariners goal-keeper will be crucial to Australia’s chances of going all the way in the tournament, with a quarter-final against China to come in Brisbane on Thursday night.
“In the first game, and against us he did brilliantly," added Al Habsi.
“He’s young, he can only improve and, of course Liverpool is a big club and for him it would be a great chance to make it.”
The Socceroos will face China PR in the Quarter-Finals of the AFC Asian Cup at Brisbane Stadium on Thursday 22 January (8.30pm local kick off). Click here to purchase tickets.