Central Coast keeper Mat Ryan keeps impressing and has drawn attention to himself, but Mariners coach Graham Arnold believes Ryan would be best staying in the A-league for the time being.
Graham Arnold rates Mathew Ryan as the Socceroos goalkeeper in-waiting but has urged him to stay in Australia as long as he can.
The Central Coast boss sung Ryan's praises after the 19-year-old repeatedly saved the Mariners' skin before Adam Kwasnik scored in the 89th minute to hand the visitors a fluky 1-0 win at AAMI Park.
But Arnold told a post-match press conference if Ryan wanted to be the next Mark Schwarzer then he should play more seasons in the Hyundai A-League before departing to club football in Europe where his development would be 'stunted' as a backup keeper.
"He is a kid. A lot of mangers in Europe won't play a goalkeeper who is 19 years of age," Arnold said.
"The last thing he needs is to go and sit somewhere behind an experienced goalkeeper for two or three years at a crucial time for his development.
"It is so much better for him to stay here until he's 22, maybe 23, and he has four or five years here because the A-League is strong and getting stronger.
"He has Asian Champions League this year. Let's hope the Olyroos qualify for the Olympics - world stage. That's what's important for him," he said.
Ryan produced no less than six terrific saves in either half - mainly from the boot of red-hot Heart striker Alex Terra.
The most dazzling save came on 30 minutes when the Heart seemed destined to finally take the lead as Aziz Behich speared a downward header from point-blank range.
But Ryan was equal to the task and the hosts could hardly believe their luck as another chance went begging.
Ryan's boyhood dream of taking over as the national team's stopper from 39-year-old Schwarzer is beginning to be conceivable after he was named the competition's young footballer of the year in his debut season.
"He's a perfectionist. He's never happy. He let in a goal against Perth and he didn't talk to anyone for two days," Arnold said.
"I had to sit him down and say 'this happens'. He's very hard on himself.
"He wants to be wearing Mark Schwarzer's jersey one day. It just shows that if you give kids the opportunity, there's some impressive kids."
Arnold was unhappy with the table-topping Mariners and admitted the victory had little merit.
"We got three points we didn't deserve tonight,'' he said.
"Melbourne Heart were the better side, they had more chances, played better football.
"The biggest positive for me is this group of players can win beautiful and they can win ugly because they have great character.
"(But) I'm not happy. We got three points but it's not the performance I want," he said.
Central Coast play Adelaide United at home on Saturday night.