Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Maty Ryan believes that his first season in English football has been a successful one overall from both a team and personal perspective.
The Australian has played every minute of every Premier League game for the Seagulls, helping them to a 15th placed finish, and he reflected on his first year with Albion positively after Sunday’s game with Liverpool at Anfield.
He said, “Overall the aim was to stay up, but you always want perfection.
“Looking back we’ve achieved our main aim which was to be in this division next season, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed going into battle with the club.
“It’s been a massive learning curve – for the past couple of seasons I haven’t been getting enough game time, so that’s the biggest thing for me from this campaign.
“I’ve stayed fit, contributed a lot and I’ve taken my game to another level this season which makes me happy.”
Goals from Mohamed Salah, Dejan Lovren, Dominic Solanke and Andy Robertson gave Jurgen Klopp’s men the victory on Merseyside with two goals in either half for the hosts – Ryan admitted that the side didn’t do enough to get anything from the contest.
“We knew it would be tough coming to Anfield because they have a lot of talent and quality, I think that showed.
“We didn’t do well enough to limit their opportunities, as a goalkeeper you want to stop those but they’re in the Champions League Final for a reason.
“They have an abundance of talent and skill in their team and they’ve broken lots of records this season, the most disappointing thing for us is that we didn’t raise our level to theirs.”
The next challenge for the stopper is Australia’s World Cup campaign in Russia which starts next month, and the Albion man spoke glowingly of the opportunity that awaits him in June.
“It’s an exciting summer for me – I got asked about it a lot, but I hadn’t given it too much thought because I had unfinished business here.
“Now I can start looking forward to that and switch my focus – it makes me feel very proud, it’s a childhood dream.
“I didn’t think it would even be possible, let alone with a full season in the Premier League either.
“When you look back and reflect you do enjoy what you’ve done – during the season maybe you take it for granted, but I’ll look back now and then focus on the tournament – it’s the biggest event in the world and great to be involved in.”
Jose Izquierdo is also in contention for selection for his native Colombia at the finals, and Ryan insisted that having players on the international stage would be a huge benefit for the Seagulls going forward.
“The more players we can get representing their countries at those sorts of tournaments, the better it is for the club.
“Those experiences with the quality you come up against in that environment will benefit us all moving forward.
“It makes you a better player and a better person, and it means you raise your club level as well.”