With the departure of Mark Schwarzer from the Socceroos, the bar was set high for Mat Ryan who was to be his replacement just months out from a World Cup, yet alone in a group against three of the worlds best.
Some astonishing form the past year saw him become one of the most exciting young keepers around Europe. Fine form for Brugge at the beginning of the year saw Brugge continue on a strong winning run and continue on deep into the Belgian League Playoffs. The beginning of the latest 14/15 season has seen Brugge only drop a single game in 6 months and has the fixed to the top of the table.
Ryan is also one of the few Australian who are playing (and excelling) in the Europa League. In Group B, Ryan has kept 4 clean sheets out of the 5 Europa League games Brugge have played, their pathway into the Round of 16 already secured.
Australia’s keeping prodigy or the ‘Australian Wall’ as Brugge fans like to call him, has far exceeded expectations set by Brugge officials and football fans alike. In just his second season at in Belgium, he’s not only become one of the best players in the club, but one of the best in the league. And naturally grabbing the attention of European Scouts along the way; a number of clubs like Tottenham, Hull City, PSV Eindhoven and even Real Madrid rumoured to show interest in singing his services.
Ryan’s quick rise to stardom over the past two years has seen him become a vital asset to the National Team and Club Brugge. The continuation of this fine form can only assure he moves onto bigger and better things in the years to come.
Words by Jacob Arnott