Mariner goalie Ryan delays overseas dreams
The accolades and plaudits continue piling up for Mat Ryan but the promising Central Coast goalkeeper is in no hurry to pursue a move overseas.
The 19-year-old Olyroos star is one of the most exciting talents in Australian football and touted as the future Socceroos No.1 by Mariners coach Graham Arnold.
Ryan's rapid ascent continued on Wednesday when he was named the January nominee for the 2011/12 Young Football of the Year award, the prize he took out last season after a stunning debut A-League campaign.
And while Ryan admits he's growing in confidence with every game, he wants to spend several more years developing in the A-League before targeting a switch to Europe.
"Since I was a kid I've been dreaming about going on to bigger and better things overseas ... but I'm only 19," Ryan said from Olyroos camp in Dubai ahead of Sunday's crucial Olympic qualifier against Uzbekistan in Tashkent.
"From what Arnie's said I couldn't imagine too many senior coaches over there in Europe playing young boys as `keepers.
"I don't really want to stunt my development by going overseas and sitting on the bench.
"I could possibly be in the A-League for another few years, until I'm 23-24, get some more experience playing first team games and hopefully around then something comes up."
Ryan has been instrumental in recent weeks for the Mariners, who hold a 10-point lead atop the competition.
Arnold's side will have to make do without him over the next month due to Olyroos commitments with backup Justin Pasfield set to take his place in Saturday night's blockbuster against Brisbane Roar at Bluetongue Stadium.
The Olyroos are staring down the barrel of becoming the first Australian men's side not to feature at an Olympics since 1988 after three scoreless draws from their opening three games.
But Ryan insists the mood is positive within the squad.
"Everyone's confident that we can kind of knock that goal in now and come the Uzbeks game if that was to happen that puts us in a good position," Ryan said.
"Noone's getting panicky at the moment."
Ryan is the third Mariners player to earn a monthly nomination for young footballer of this year this season, following Bernie Ibini and Mustafa Amini.