Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts insists that the form of Maty Ryan hasn’t surprised him so far this campaign – because he knew the talent the keeper possessed.
The Australian stopper has earned praise for his recent performances, as has Roberts for being an influential figure in bringing Ryan to the club – and the coach revealed that the player was someone he knew of for a long period of time.
He said, “I was aware of Maty when he was with Central Coast Mariners, I was at Charlton Athletic at the time but we were getting videos of him through.
“He came on trial with a few sides in England – and I was pleased when he came to Europe and made the move to Club Brugge because he was someone who I had followed for a long time.
“Then when he was at Valencia there was interest from here and I was happy that he went to Genk to get some games, and I actually went across to watch him a few times there as well.”
The goalkeeping coach revealed that the extensive viewing of footage of players in action is standard procedure when recruiting a new face to the side, and he expressed his delight at landing his first-choice keeper in the close season.
“It’s part of the process we go through all year – following keepers from different leagues and writing reports and he really caught my eye.
“So when the summer approached, we got promoted and made contact, and that’s why he’s here now.
“I told Chris [Hughton] what I thought his pros and cons might be, as I do with everyone that I recommend to the manager. He hadn’t been a regular for a few years – but Maty was the number one who I wanted to bring in and I’m glad we did.”
Ryan has kept eight top flight clean sheets so far in his debut season in England, as well as earning admiring glances for his exuberant goal celebrations – often running the length of the field to join in the congratulations to teammates.
Roberts was keen to highlight the success of the summer arrival, as well as pointing to the fact that he’d been key in securing results for the team on occasions so far.
“He’s been excellent – he hasn’t exceeded expectations because I was always confident we were getting a world-class goalkeeper and I firmly believe there's more to come from him.
“There were a few questions here and there at the start of the season but I was always happy with what I was seeing out on the training field, and felt it was always going to take a bit of time for that to show on the pitch during matches.
“It’s probably come a little bit quicker than expected really [his performances] and he’s done really well. The game versus Stoke City and indeed many other instances this season are examples of where he’s already earned us points in the campaign.”