Loving feeling the key to Brighton landing Ryan

Having fulfilled one dream, Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan is relishing the chance to live another, describing his arrival at Brighton as a love affair in the making.

Mat Ryan

Mat Ryan at Valencia. Source: Getty Images

The designated first choice for the Seagulls, having signed from Valencia for a club record $15 million, Ryan gave Chris Hughton's Premier League newcomers the nod over a number of other suitors.

And his new employers will get to see his qualities again on Tuesday morning (AEST) should, as expected, the 25-year-old start in Australia's Confederations Cup opener against Germany in Sochi - which you can watch LIVE, FREE and in HD on SBS.

Ryan, who made just 10 La Liga appearances in two seasons for Los Che, has long dreamed of playing in England's top tier and he sees his five-year commitment to the South Coast club as "a project".

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What sealed the deal, he says, was "the love" he felt from the club.

"One of the biggest carrots in football is playing in the Premier League," explained Ryan.

"There's no better place to be playing than in one of the best and most watched competitions in the world.

"There's a project there ... from the moment there was interest I felt the love of the club.

"They really wanted to get me there and every day the interest just got stronger.

"The deal seemed to get sweeter every minute and I found myself making the decision to go there and I'm very happy with that decision."

The Seagulls are willing to break their newly set transfer record to add fellow Socceroo Aaron Mooy to their acquisitions list for $17 million, even though Huddersfield remain in the box seat to sign the midfielder from Manchester City.

If a deal materialized Ryan would be more than happy.

"Obviously Aaron's a great player and it would be great to have a fellow Aussie there at the club," he said.

"But I'm not sure what the situation is or whether he is even close to going there ... that's something you would have to ask him."

Though his stay in Spain ended prematurely, Ryan has only fond recollections of his time there, which effectively ended in January when he joined Genk on the loan for the rest of the season.

"I have only positive things to say about Valencia and I'm thankful to them for playing in one of the biggest competitions in the world," he added.

"There is no shying away from the fact I would love to have had more game time. But that's the way it goes ... I have learned a lot of things from experiences there. 

"Its onwards and upwards from here. I am just focusing on the future, you can't change the past."

Ryan can expect to see plenty of the ball against an experimental but still menacing Germany side, as he plays his part in a new 3-2-4-1 system which coach Ange Postecoglou plans to stick with despite teething troubles.

"Common sense would tell you the more you practice something, the better you will become," he added.

"I think we have been doing quite a good job throughout games but there have been little crunch periods where we need to do better.

"It's a learning experience and after every performance we have been analyzing things.

"I believe we are getting closer to making the formation work better for us in the future, and we are excited to be putting it to the test against some big opposition (in Russia)."


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4 min read
Published 17 June 2017 at 10:48pm
By Dave Lewis in Sochi