When former Central Coast Mariners keeper Mat Ryan joined EPL outfit Brighton and Hove Albion, he had a pleasant surprise when meeting a former Hyundai A-League manager working at the newly promoted club.
Working under manager Chris Hughton at Brighton is first team coach Paul Nevin.
A-League fans may recall that name.
The former Fulham staff coach coached in the Hyundai A-League about ten years ago, with the New Zealand Knights in the 2006/07 Season.
Englishman Nevin told www.a-league.com.au that the Caltex Socceroos number one is quickly finding his feet after his off-season move from Valencia (following a loan spell back in the Belgian league).
“The keepers have specific training but they come and join the main group so I see and work with Mat every day,” Nevin said.
“He's transitioned really well into the group.
“Like all the players here, Mat's really worked hard in the last month or so.
“He's a fantastic fella with a great work ethic,” he added.
Ryan kept his second clean sheet of the season on Monday, helping the Seagulls to a crucial three points against Newcastle United, propelling them to 14th on the Premier League ladder.
“Every game that goes by, we're getting more familiar with each other and with the level and quality,” said Nevin.
“It just takes a bit of time to get used to the pace and the quality in the Premier League.
“We're all pretty confident – Mat included – that we'll end up doing well and being competitive within the league this season.”
All eyes will be on Ryan and his Seagulls teammates this Sunday as they face a tricky away tie at the Emirates against Arsene Wenger's Gunners.
Then Ryan will jump on a plan bound for Malaysia ahead of the Thursday October 5 clash with Syria in a make or break World Cup 2018 playoff first leg tie.
Ryan and the rest of the Caltex Socceroos will then be back home for the second leg tie to be played at ANZ Stadium on October 10.