Socceroos Spotlight: Aussie legend backs huge Ryan move

Mat Ryan's exceptional debut season at Brighton and Hove Albion should have him on the radar of a Premier League giant, according to an Australian footballing legend.

And as we explore in Socceroos Spotlight, the future is looking just as bright for two other local products on very different paths.


Former Middlesbrough and Fulham favourite Mark Schwarzer has named his Caltex Socceroos successor Mat Ryan as the perfect target for Premier League heavyweights Arsenal.

Without a manager after Arsene Wenger's departure, the Gunners are also reportedly in the market for a new goalkeeper as Petr Cech nears the end of a decorated career.

READ: Ryan scoops No.3 Premier League ranking heading into World Cup

Schwarzer, who came close to joining Arsenal himself in 2010, has encouraged the London club to consider the Brighton and Hove Albion gun, especially if they appoint Mikel Arteta as Arsene Wenger's replacement.

"It depends on who becomes manager," Schwarzer said on Optus Sport's The Monday PL Show.

"The word on the ground is Arteta is well in the mix. The fact he's worked at Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola, it would be interesting to see if he would adopt the same sort of style of football if he were to take over at Arsenal.

"If that were the case, Maty would suit that down to the ground."


One Aussie has already earned a major move elsewhere in Europe with Michael Valkanis securing a "dream" role at PEC Zwolle.

The former Melbourne City boss has reunited with John van't Schip at the Dutch outfit, which finished ninth in the Eredivisie this season.

READ: Ex-Hyundai A-League boss secures dream European gig

Valkanis believes he and the likes of Arsenal Women coach Joe Montemurro can help open doors for their compatriots.

"Australia is almost disregarded a little bit and it takes people like JvS who've worked here to see there are coaches who are capable and worthy of getting opportunities," Valkanis told FourFourTwo Australia.

"We might be far away, but I think there are really good coaches here. The amount of study we do to improve and the amount of work we do to become better coaches.

"It's very hard to get opportunities, so I'll definitely make the most of it."

Michael Valkanis
Michael Valkanis has taken an exciting next step.


From a former Caltex Socceroo to a future one, or so Ben Folami is hoping.

The 18-year-old Sydney product recently inked a three-year professional contract at Ipswich Town after breaking through for three senior appearances this season.

While he would be eligible to play for England in a couple of years, the former Sutherland Sharks youth has no doubts over where his loyalties lie.

WATCH: Folami's wonder goal for Ipswich U23s

"I've always wanted to play for Australia," Folami said in a club interview.

"When Australia come calling I would be more than happy to play for my country. It's something I've always wanted to do.

"People like Harry Kewell, Brett Emerton, they show no matter where you come from, you can come over to England, probably one of the best places for football in the world, and do well and compete with all these other players from around the world."

Ben Folami
Ben Folami battling with Reading's Chris Gunter.