Ryan the key to Brighton staying up, says Schwarzer

Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan is shaping as the central figure in Brighton & Hove Albion’s bid to preserve their Premier League status, according to Socceroo great Mark Schwarzer.

Mat Ryan

Mat Ryan in action for Brighton & Hove Albion Source: Press Association

Ryan has been in imperious form for the EPL newcomers this season but must step it up again as the Seagulls, who are six points off the drop zone, face a horror seven-match run in to the season.

After entertaining Aaron Mooy’s fellow strugglers Huddersfield Town on Sunday (AEST), Brighton travel to Crystal Palace for another six-pointer, followed by Tottenham (home), Burnley (away), Manchester United (home), then Manchester City and Liverpool, both away.

The scale of the task facing 13th placed Brighton is not lost on Schwarzer, who made 514 EPL appearances during spells with Middlesbrough, Fulham, Chelsea and Leicester.

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“Maty’s been in top form and that can make all the difference between staying up or going down,” said Schwarzer, now a TV and radio pundit.

“He’s made crucial saves that have won his team vital points and that’s what he needs to keep doing for the rest of the season.

“The last-minute penalty save at Stoke (in February) rescued a point for them but it was worth more than just a point, it brought a measure of confidence and momentum and that’s invaluable to any team.

“Their heads would have really dropped has they lost in those type of circumstances.

"Maty needs to keep pulling his weight as he’s done up to now.”

Three successive 2-0 defeats have dragged Chris Hughton’s side back into trouble and they can ill afford to drop points against the Terriers, who are just three points and two spots clear of 18th placed Southampton.

Schwarzer has been impressed by Ryan’s adaptation to the EPL, seeing off Tim Krul for the top spot.

“They needed somebody to come in and make that position their own, and he’s done that,” he said.

“The big question was whether he’d be given time to by the club to adapt.

“What’s impressive was how quickly he adjusted.



“He needed to because he had Tim Krul breathing down his neck.

“Brighton aren’t a side that plays out a lot from the back that much and Maty’s gone a bit deeper and they have adapted well to each other.

“He’s deservedly been getting the plaudits this season.

“It’s chalk and cheese from what they had there last season in Dave Stockdale. They couldn’t be any more different.

“He was a big tall lad who booted the ball a 100 miles up the pitch and that was really about it.”

Schwarzer said Ryan’s secret was his energy, athleticism and professionalism.

“Maty is a top pro who looks after himself, plays out from the back really well while his long kicking game is really not his strength,” he added.

“We spoke earlier in the season. There were one of two things we chatted about but nothing major (regarding honing his game).

“He’s been brilliant and has done all the hard work with goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts and the confidence is there.



“That belief comes from the goalkeeping coach and the manager and since he was effectively given the nod he’s just grown in stature.

“He is one of the better keepers in that middle of the pack in the EPL and at this stage of the season every little facet of the game can make a massive difference.

“Thats when you need a keeper in top form.”


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4 min read
Published 7 April 2018 at 10:01am
By Dave Lewis