World Cup 2014 | Ryan's ready for big contest

World Cup players will provide Matthew Ryan with ample opportunity to display his skills. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
World Cup players will provide Matthew Ryan with ample opportunity to display his skills. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Wollongong-born former Socceroo Mile Sterjovski expects Matthew Ryan to announce himself as a world-class talent on football's biggest stage in Brazil.

An ex-teammate of the Socceroos keeper during his time at Central Coast Mariners, Sterjovski believes the 2014 World Cup is the perfect opportunity for Ryan to showcase his credentials against attacks featuring the likes of Robin Van Persie, David Villa and Alexis Sánchez.

The 22-year old gloveman spent the past season between the sticks at Club Brugge in the Belgium league and has long been touted as the long-term replacement for veteran custodian Mark Schwarzer.

And Sterjovski, who played for the Socceroos at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, is certain he will be up to the task in South America.

"If you look at the group we have you can definitely see we are going to be under some pressure. I think Matty Ryan is going to be a standout for us," Sterjovski said.

"He has had a great season in Europe and I think he is going to continue that for us.

"He was born for this kind of stage where he loves the pressure situations and he loves the big occasions so he will be a standout."

Ryan has been a feature in the starting side alongside numerous other upcoming players in the Socceroos squad.

Sterjovski pinpointed Tommy Oar as another member of that young contingent he believes will play a big role.

"[He] has also looked pretty good to me in the last few games," Sterjovski said.

"I am not sure what position he is going to end up playing in. I think he is better suited on the wing but he is very good on the ball for me."

Both Ryan and Oar were expected additions in the national team which also featured the somewhat more surprising inclusions of Adam Taggart, Massimo Luongo and Bailey Wright.

Their positions in the squad came at the expense of Socceroo veteran Josh Kennedy and Wollongong-born veteran Luke Wilkshire.

As a long-time teammate of both veterans, Sterjovski admitted to being shocked by the decision.

"I was a little surprised that they didn't include a few more [veterans].

"I think that some older guys are great for a squad," Sterjovski said.

"But it is not for us to comment on those sort of things because Ange has his say and he knows what he wants to do. But from my experiences in teams, the older guys make a big difference."

With the decision now set in stone, the tournament presents a massive chance for the country's budding stars to experience international football at its best, according to Sterjovski.

"You gain a lot of experience. Next time it comes around you know what to expect.

"You will be a lot calmer and much more confident," Sterjovski said.

"There are a lot of valuable lessons to be learned from it. How to deal with certain situations, how to handle the pressure.

"It is very important and I think the guys have done OK so far.

"In the last game against Croatia they lost 1-0 but it was kind of an unlucky goal in a way.

"I thought they've handled themselves pretty well, though, and played well."

The Socceroos will open their campaign against Chile on Saturday before meeting the Netherlands (June 19 AEST) and Spain (June 24 AEST).


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