5. MATT RYAN
Matthew Ryan’s year has been career defining.
At only 23, Ryan is playing for Spanish giants Valencia,
after two almost perfect seasons for Club Brugge.
Ryan kicked off his year by winning the 2015 Asian Cup with
the Socceroos. His domestic form carried over to the Socceroos, as Ryan was
awarded with the golden glove (keeper of tournament).
His performances for the Socceroos have been second to none
The shot-stopper was voted as the Belgian Pro League goalkeeper
of the year twice which caught the eye of Valencia CF.
Ryan won the PFA footballer of the year award and Harry
Kewell medal alst month. He is the first player to have won both in the same
For a man still in his early 20’s, Ryan is a born leader on
the field and plays with intelligence.
Ryan is a born leader for club and country. He has mastered
the art of playing the ball on the ground as a sweeper, much like German keeper
Manuel Neuer. It’s a rare talent that only the finest goalkeepers possess.
His season with Valencia started off with a bang, keeping a
clean sheet in his first unofficial and official games against PSV Eindhoven
and Rayo Vallecano.
A knee injury left Ryan on the sidelines and is fighting for
his first spot in keeper.
Ryan will be hoping to go to the next level and be a regular
starter for Valencia in 2016.
4. MATTHEW LECKIE
Matthew Leckie’s promoted German side Ingolstadt has seen
him play against some of the world’s best this season.
Like many other Socceroos, the success of winning the 2015
Asian Cup benefited Leckie’s first team selection at club level.
The young 24 year old had a breakthrough season, and has
made a total of 44 appearances with the newly promoted club.
Leckie played a major role in the Socceroos success this
year, and has been an unstoppable force up front.
The forwards best international performance was against
Germany in a friendly this year, where he tore the German defense to shreds. They
simply had no answer for his pace or unpredictable movement on the ball.
The attacking winger possesses speedy Gonzales like pace,
and runs through defenders with no fear.
Leckie is a regular starter for Ingolstadt and has helped
his side stay clear of the relegation zone.
The youngsters spell with FSV Frankfurt started off slow,
but Leckie eventually converted his hard work on the wing into a total of 10
goals for the season.
Leckie kicked off this season for Ingolstadt with extreme confidence,
making 16 appearances and scoring one goal.
With his team playing attractive football, Leckie could be
one season away from joining one of the world’s best teams like Ryan.
3. MASSIMO LUONGO
Massimo Luongo is arguably one of Australia’s most gifted
youngsters in this day and age. Four years with English League one side Swindon
Town FC has shaped the 23 year old into a brilliant midfielder.
Who will forget that long range belter to put us in front
against South Korea in the 2015 Asian Cup final.
Luongo may not be the strongest or the fastest, but he has
the IQ of a footballing genius.
His ability to wriggle past two or three players and thread
a ball through to his forwards separates him from the rest of the pack.
Luongo won the player of the tournament in the 2015 Asian Cup,
and attracted Queens Park Rangers for his signature.
Despite a quality year with the Socceroos and Swindon Town,
the switch to QPR hasn’t been a walk in the park for the youngster.
Struggling for selection, Luongo could be on his way out as
he fights for a spot in the starting XI.
Luongo is a gifted midfielder with quick feet and a dead
eye. His ability to pick out a player from distance is first class, as well as
his long range shooting.
The youngster can play as a box to box midfielder, which is supported
through his high work rate.
Luongo was shortlisted among the top 59 players for the
Ballon d’OR. It’s the highest accolade in football and is an award for the best
player in the world.
This is only the beginning for the Australian superstar, who
has the potential to achieve greatness.
2. AARON MOOY
He has been hyped as the golden boy of Australian football.
The 25 year old midfielder is in a league of his own in the Hyundai A-League.
Amazingly, Mooy never found his way at Western Sydney
Wanderers before being transferred to Melbourne City.
It’s all been on the up from there. Mooy’s year has seen him
carry a struggling City, to the A-League semi-finals, bagging a ton of goals
and assists in the process.
He may as well have eyes at the back of his head because his
mental awareness is second to none. Mooy can read the play long before his
opponents, allowing him to make that killer pass or dribble past his
opposition. His ability to set up his forward men like Uruguayan Bruno
Fornaroli, and literally win games is staggering.
His amazing form has not only paid off for Melbourne City, but
also for Australia’s national side. Mooy’s consistent form week in week out
left manager Ange Postecoglou no choice but to play the midfielder.
It was a perfect fit for Mooy, who provided much of the same
form for the Socceroos, setting up talisman Tim Cahill twice against Bangladesh
in their recent WCQ.
Mooy is in no rush to move away from Melbourne City, and is
the perfect example of how players can still be selected for the Socceroos
playing in Australia.
His scintillating form has not gone unnoticed, and has
attracted big money moves from overseas clubs.
Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr reportedly offered a record $2
million bid for Mooy but was rejected by Melbourne City.
There is no doubt that Melbourne City will struggle, if Mooy
leaves this January. The marquee man is third in A-League’s highest scorers
with 6 goals and leads in assists with 7. He has created 49 chances this season
which has helped City to third on the table in front of crosstown rivals
So what will Melbourne City do, keep Australia’s brightest
young talent or ship him off for an overseas club? Does Mooy leave for a big
club and risk not starting every week, or does he stay and attempt his first
title with Melbourne City?
By Ari Charilaou (He’s also on twitter here) – PHOTOS ALEKS K
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