Mathew Ryan: the goalkeeper trusted by Postecoglou who could fix Celtic problem

By Euan Davidson

June 3, 2021

The goalkeeping situation at Celtic continues to mystify, but there might be an answer in Mathew Ryan.

Reports earlier in the year suggested Vasilis Barkas would be away. However, the Greek goalie featured in late fixtures against St Johnstone and Hibs, keeping two clean sheets. Scott Bain was entrusted for much of the 20-21 season, but his deficiencies remain. Conor Hazard could probably use another spell on loan.

Managers like to bring in players they trust. That kind of kinship with a goalkeeper is absolutely vital; while Brendan Rodgers stuck with Craig Gordon most of the time, he did bring in Dorus de Vries when Gordon’s form was wayward. The life of a goalkeeper can be a lonely one, and their relationship with managers can be different to the rest of the team.

Therefore, it would make total sense if Ange Postecoglou looked at bringing in Australian goalkeeper Mathew Ryan. If you’re entrusted to replace a Socceroos legend like Mark Schwarzer, play in a World Cup and in an Asian Cup winning side, you’ve earned the respect of a coach.

Ryan, who spent the latter half of last season at Arsenal, finds himself in an interesting position. Seemingly not fancied by Brighton boss Graham Potter, Ryan deputised for Bernd Leno in the Gunners goal. While at Arsenal, behind a leaky rear-guard, Ryan averaged 2.7 saves per 90 from 3 appearances. He kept a clean sheet against Newcastle [BBC] to cap a decent enough spell.

A future Celtic duo? Mathew Ryan speaking to Ange Postecoglou / (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Mathew Ryan and Ange Postecoglou have previous, could be made available to Celtic

Now, I know what you may be thinking: 1: haven’t we talked about this before and 2: really? Loaning players from Brighton, have we learnt nothing?

1: yes. and 2: well, it’s different.

Ryan was available in January, having fallen out of favour on the south coast of England. Graham Potter, for his part, realised how frustrating a situation it was for Ryan at Brighton [Sky Sports]. The one-time Australian champion and Belgian Cup winner isn’t used to warming the bench.

And while it’s easy to link a manager of a certain nationality with a player of the same background, this made sense in January, and it makes even more sense now. In the event that Barkas is not the guy going forward, someone with European, Australian and Premier League experience would fit the bill, entirely.

Boasting accurate long passing [WhoScored?], but also able to play with the ball to feet (to a degree), Ryan will be used to Postecoglou’s lofty expectations. Obviously, this is predicated on not signing Freddie Woodman. Also, the hope that Arsenal don’t come lurking again. But Ryan to Celtic under Postecoglou makes total sense.

READ MORE: An update on Celtic’s manager situation