Ryan up for Young Player of the Year

Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Mathew Ryan insists the Qantas Australian U-23s are not panicking despite their slow start to their Olympic qualifying campaign.

Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Mathew Ryan insists the Qantas Australian U-23s are not panicking despite their slow start to their Olympic qualifying campaign.

With three draws from as many games in Group B, Australia are third, behind Uzbekistan - who they meet in Tashkent on Monday morning (AEDT) - and Iraq.

Ryan, who was named the January nominee for Hyundai A-League Young Footballer of the Year, said the Australian U-23s were remaining calm.

"We're confident in terms of our defensive structure and not to concede. We've kept three clean sheets already, it's just been that clinical finish at the end that we've been missing," he said.

"No one's getting panicky at the moment. We're just looking forward to this first game."

The Australian U23s need to finish top of the group to book an automatic place in London, with the clash against Uzbekistan followed by a meeting with the United Arab Emirates on February 22 and Iraq on March 14.

The 19-year-old Ryan kept three clean sheets in the A-League in January, in wins over the Melbourne Heart, Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory.

Touted as a future Qantas Socceroos shot-stopper, Ryan said it was a dream, but one he knows is still some way off.

"Since I was a kid I've been dreaming of going on to bigger and better things overseas and that's no different. I know that's a long way away and a lot of hard work to be done before that," he said.

"I'm just happy to be playing first-team football here at the Mariners and developing my game week in, week out, under (coach) Graham (Arnold) and (goalkeeping coach) John Crawley and everyone at the Mariners."

"My initial focus is to keep developing my game and playing well for the Olyroos and the Mariners and see what goes on from here."

While Ryan is interested in a move abroad, the 2011 Joe Marston Medallist said he was happy to remain in the A-League for the time being.

"I haven't put a timeline on it. If it comes around, it comes around. Obviously I want to go overseas at some point but I'm still only 19," he said.

"Like what from Arnie (Arnold) said - I can't imagine too many senior coaches in Europe playing young boys as keepers. I don't really want to stunt my development in going overseas and sitting on the bench."

Ryan, last year's winner of the award, is also the third consecutive Mariners player to be nominated for the award, following teammates Bernie Ibini and Mustafa Amini.

The overall winner will receive a $10,000 personal investment portfolio, a NAB Private Client Manager to assist with a range of banking and financial services, and the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award.

To acknowledge the vital role junior football clubs play in the development of today-s young stars as they strive to reach their potential, NAB will also present a $3,000 equipment pack to Earlwood Wanderers Football Club, the football club that Ibini nominated for assisting most in his junior development.