DOHA: Socceroos captain Mat Ryan knows a thing or two about being written off – such has been his club career in the recent past.
Ryan was asked point blank about his lack of first team appearances, even since a move to FC Copenhagen was supposed to quash those concerns.
“Unfortunately the last two years, I have been in that scenario quite a bit,” he told reporters.
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“But the first thing I try and do is make sure that I try and treat every training session and manipulate it into a match scenario and I think that has been the main key which has served me quite well throughout these two years.
“I felt when I have played I have still continued to play to a very high level and I get my confidence from that, working hard day-in, day-out, feeling sharp. I am feeling ready to go and excited for tomorrow.”
The Socceroos captain has worked closely with those around him in the team, as well as past greats to hone his leadership skills – and said there were too many people that have helped him.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have many examples of great leaders at my club football and also with the Socceroos as well, coming in to the scene with the Socceroos from a young age and having the golden generation around,” he said.
“The examples they set, the standards they set for themselves … the one thing that always stood out to me was the guys who went the extra length to dedicate themselves, sacrifice everything in order to get the most out of their abilities were always the players that had that little bit more illustrious career than others.”
As the current crop prepare for a crunch game against France, Australia’s class of ’06 remain firmly entrenched in the identity of the Socceroos – and with the likes of Mark Schwarzer asking questions at a pre-match presser and Tim Cahill helping out at Aspire, their DNA remains all over this team.
“That dedication to being able to prepare yourself to give everything for the team is a great leadership quality and probably the biggest aspect of leadership for me is production on the football pitch,” Ryan said.
“Obviously as players we’re presented with numerous moments within a game where the odds are stacked against us and we have to use all that we’ve practiced in order to come out on top.
“One of the key leadership qualities is being able to come out on top more than often, perhaps when no one expects you to. The leaders – Timmy Cahill, Mark Schwarzer, Lucas Neill, Mile Jedinak – all these big moments in the history of our football, they were there and produced for our country.”
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