Graham Arnold and Socceroos skipper Mat Ryan share a touching moment as the countdown begins to their World Cup clash with France
With the Socceroos’ World Cup opener versus France less than 24 hours away, a moving video shows the close bond between coach Graham Arnold and skipper Mat Ryan.
Arnold signed the goalkeeper back in 2010 when he was coaching Central Coast Mariners in the A-League – and it has been some journey since.
Ryan, 30, has carved out a successful career in Europe with the likes of Club Brugge, Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal – and Qatar will be his third successive World Cup between the sticks for Australia.
In the inspiring Socceroos clip uploaded to Twitter, Arnold acknowledges how far the shot-stopper has come.
‘Can you imagine 12 or 13 years ago when I got you in with the Mariners that we would be standing here now, preparing to talk about the French,’ he said.
Socceroos boss Graham Arnold identified Mat Ryan’s talent as a teenager – and handed him his first professional contract in the A-League back in 2010
‘It is crazy when you think about it…now we are standing here as captain and coach.’
A humble Ryan replies: ‘definitely not, and what a journey it has been,’ he said.
‘You showed tremendous faith in me, I really appreciate it, I’m looking forward to paying you back.’
Ryan has long been a favourite of Arnold’s, who gave the gloveman his first professional contract after spotting him playing with semi-professional club Blacktown City when he was 18.
Despite indifferent form this season with FC Copenhagen in Denmark, Ryan will be Australia’s goalkeeper in the Middle East, with Andrew ‘Grey Wiggle’ Redmayne and Danny Vukovic his deputies.
Arnold spotted Mat Ryan playing state league football with Blacktown City and felt he had potential to be an elite footballer, which has proven to be true
Speaking ahead of the Socceroos’ first match, Ryan said collective belief is key.
‘The biggest focus for us has been the mentality and the boys have grasped the mentality: we go into every game, whoever we’re facing, with the right amount of respect,’ he said.
‘We don’t underestimate anybody and we don’t over-respect anyone.’
Veteran winger Mat Leckie is set to start instead of Martin Boyle, who was ruled out of the tournament on Sunday with a knee injury.
Kick-off is 6am on Wednesday (AEDT), live on SBS.