Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Maty Ryan says that the time he’s spent away from the football field during this off-season will stand him in good stead for the new campaign.
The Australian stopper played 34 top-flight matches for the Seagulls in the 2018/19 season, directly after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals in Russia during last summer. That all followed a debut season in England which saw Ryan played every minute of top-flight action, and he admitted he’s been glad of the rest during recent weeks.
He said, “It’s been exactly what the doctor ordered because it’s been six years since I had a full summer break – the pressure towards the end of last season meant I took the decision to take the rest that was offered to me by Graham Arnold, the coach of my national side.
“It’s about recharging the batteries at the moment and taking my mind off football to allow me to come back fresh both physically and mentally, and it’s been good so far.
“It’s vital in life to get the balance right, you have the pressure of playing Premier League football and everything that comes with that – it’s always nice to get away and enjoy time away from the field and the smaller things in life.
“In my case I’ve moved back closer to a part of the world where my family and friends are, so it’s been really enjoyable.”
The fixtures for the 2019/20 Premier League campaign were revealed on Thursday morning, with Graham Potter’s side heading to Vicarage Road to face Watford on the opening day of the new season.
Ryan looked back on the same fixture that kicked off the 2018/19 season and insisted the team would be looking to atone for the 2-0 defeat.
“We’ll be looking to make amends after the result there last year, every game is vital and that first one will be a massive one,” he continued.
“You always want to kickstart your campaign in the best possible way with a positive result – we didn’t have success there last time but we’ll be out to change that.
“From my experiences in this league during my time in England there are no easy games – all three sides who have been promoted into the division have been in the top-flight not so long ago and that just goes to show how competitive it is.
“It’s important that we assert our authority against them and show that we belong here, when we face them they’ll be of massive importance.”
The Seagulls will also tackle a traditionally busy festive period, playing seven matches in under a month throughout December and on the first day of January – the Aussie stopper highlighted the importance and significance of that time of the season.
“It’s a busy time of the year – I take every game as an opportunity to get points, but that festive period historically in England is a good chance to get a lot of points on the board and build some momentum.
“If you can pick up results during that time then it can really help you, hopefully by the time the season reaches that point we’ll also have a good foundation to work from.
“I’m really excited to get back involved – when pre-season rolls around we’ll all be looking to get back with one another and get as ready as we can for what will be our third consecutive Premier League campaign and hopefully our most successful one yet.”