Mat Ryan not taking Socceroos role for granted

SOCCEROOS goalkeeper Mat Ryan will not take his position for granted despite playing in all three World Cup games in Brazil.

The 22-year-old, who has been in super form for Club Brugge in Belgium, said the keepers' jersey wasn't automatically his and he would still have to perform well to fight off a number of challengers.

The former Central Coast Mariner said if his form dipped, Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou had plenty of options.

Mitch Langerak is now playing more regularly at Bundesliga giant Borussia Dortmund, while Adam Federici is once more first choice at English Championship team Reading.

Eugene Galekovic and Mark Birighitti are also in the frame, so Ryan knows he cannot rest on his laurels ahead of tomorrow morning's international friendly against Belgium in Liege, and a second game against Saudia Arabia at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground on Tuesday.

"There's great competition for every spot in the team at the moment," Ryan told FFA TV.

"I don't think any position on the team should be safe at any time in one's international career. If you're playing well and you deserve the right to have the spot, that's the way it should go.

"For myself I just focus on coming in here and trying to work hard."

Postecoglou will use the game, and the one against Saudi Arabia, to look at a few youngsters in the build up to next year's Asian Cup in Australia.

Aston Villa defender Chris Herd is in line for his Socceroos debut after a number of near misses, while fellow defender Trent Sainsbury could also earn his first cap.

Josh Brillante could add to his one cap following his move to Serie A giant Fiorentina, while Tomi Juric is in line to get a run up front after some good performances for Western Sydney Wanderers in the Asian Champions League.

Winger Robbie Kruse is back in the squad after a ruptured ACL cost him a place at the World Cup, while Matthew Leckie will look to continue on from his strong performances for the Socceroos in Brazil.

Belgium, meanwhile, will be without EPL stars Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard, who have both been replaced by their younger brothers Jordan and Thorgan.

Marc Wilmot's squad is still a strong one, however, and the hosts should provide the Socceroos with a stern test after reaching the quarter-fnals in Brazil, before losing to eventual runner-up Argentina.



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