Time for Socceroos to make a statement, says Ryan

Mat Ryan has declared it's high time for Australia to deliver as the voyage to Russia 2018 reaches a critical point, insisting all the talk about systems and formations is just background "noise".

Mat Ryan

Mat Ryan in action for Australia Source: Getty Images

The Socceroos goalkeeper - who is bedding in nicely with Premier League newcomers Brighton & Hove Albion - is well aware of the debate raging over whether coach Ange Postecoglou should dump his maligned 3-2-4-1 set-up and revert to four at the back for next month's two-legged World Cup qualification play-off against Syria.

But he insisted that whatever system is employed by Postecoglou, it's on the players, not the coach, to produce the results on October 5 in Malacca and in Melbourne five days later to keep Australia's World Cup hopes alive, and carry them to a final eliminator against the fourth-placed nation from CONCACAF.

The fact that Western Sydney Wanderers right-back Josh Risdon has made the cut in the final 23 suggests Postecoglou is considering a change of course, thus loosening the shackles on right-sided attacking weapon Matthew Leckie.

But whatever he decides, Ryan's belief in the boss is unwavering, with the players the main focus of his discourse.

"We all believe in our system and ourselves, the rest is just noise really," said Ryan who faces up to Arsenal on Sunday (AEST) at the Emirates before heading into camp in Malaysia.

"We have full faith in our tactics and our system and it just comes down to us as a squad of players to continuously deliver on those fundamentals and principles that give us our identity as a team.

"The boss has backed us as players but at the end of the day there have been moments where we haven't stuck to our principles as well as we would've liked to.

"It comes down to us as individuals, and as a team, to make the right decisions at the right times.

"We haven't done that and maybe haven't carried out Ange's instructions as well as we could have, and we have been punished for it.

"That goes a long way to explaining why we haven't qualified directly.

"At international level it's the smallest moments, the one per centers, that make the difference."

Ryan, though, said taking the hard road to Russia would make qualification for a fourth successive World Cup all the sweeter.

"We still have a great opportunity to get there and we're all still committed to achieving that goal," he said. "There are still plenty of positives and our objective is still very much alive.

"We are a family and we all have each other's backs. We go through difficult times together and we go through success together.

"Ange can prepare the team as best as he can to give us the best opportunity to win games, but he is not out there playing the actual match.

"That responsibility rests on us as a playing group. It's up to us to go out and put into action his instructions and the style he's brought us up on.

"As I said (any criticism of that) from media and stuff, we don't buy into. It will be business as usual when we get to Malaysia."

While recruited as the Seagulls' number one by coach Chris Hughton from Valencia, the arrival from Newcastle of Tim Krul on transfer deadline day has heightened Ryan's awareness that nobody's first team spot is guaranteed in the Premier League.

"Having that extra strength in depth is only going to bring out the best in players," said Ryan who kept a clean sheet as Brighton beat Newcastle 1-0 last weekend.

"During the course of the season you have injuries, suspensions, and also personal form is key, so the more competition there is across the squad the better it is for the boss.

"It pushes each individual to become the best they can be. And I am no different. Tim coming into the squad just adds greater depth to the goalkeeping ranks.

"We have a good professional relationship and are just trying to get the best out of each other and to be able to contribute when we can."

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4 min read
Published 27 September 2017 at 6:08pm
By Dave Lewis