Ryan joins teammate as NAB Young Footballer nominee

The Central Coast Mariners investment in youth is continuing to pay dividends, with young goalkeeper Mathew Ryan today named the December nominee for the 2010/11 NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award.

The Central Coast Mariners investment in youth is continuing to pay dividends, with young goalkeeper Mathew Ryan today named the December nominee for the 2010/11 NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award.

Ryan-s nomination comes hot on the heels of teammate Mustafa Amini-s anointment as the November nominee for the prestigious award, and Ryan says he-s honoured to have been recognised.

“I-m privileged to have been thrown into the category of players to have won that award and I-m stoked, over the moon,” said Ryan.

“I wasn-t really too focused on winning any awards, I was just concentrating on playing here and playing well.”

Determined by a panel of experts the NAB Young Footballer of the Year - December nominee, Matthew Ryan, was judged on his performance over weeks 17-20 of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season.

Since making his Hyundai A-League debut in week four against Sydney FC, The youngster has already earned 10 clean sheets in his 19 appearances for the club, equal with Brisbane-s Michael Theoklitos and just one behind the all time record of 11, held by former Sydney gloveman Clint Bolton.

But the teenager is keen to share the credit with the rest of the Mariners squad.

“Arnie has got the structure of the defence very solid and the boys are doing well in keeping clean sheet after clean sheet.

“The boys have been brilliant, from the front two getting behind the ball to the midfield and the back four, they are all getting behind and making a defensive block which is difficult for other teams to break down,” said Ryan.

It-s been a meteoric rise for Ryan who started the season as understudy to Danny Vukovic prior to his departure, and then watched as Jess Vanstrattan took the gloves for the opening three rounds, before succumbing to a season ending knee injury.

“I definitely wasn-t expecting to be playing (this much) this year, I thought I may have made my debut but to play 19 games I definitely wasn-t expecting it and I thank Arnie, Mossy and JC (goalkeeping coach John Crawley) for the experience,” said Ryan.

Matthew Ryan is the fifth nominated player to be announced, in a list that includes North Queensland Fury-s Chris Payne, Adelaide United-s Mathew Leckie, Brisbane Roar-s Luke DeVere and November-s winner and Ryan-s team mate, Mustafa Amini.

“It-s the future of the Mariners,” said Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold.

“Unless you give kids the opportunity you never know and Mustafa along with Matty Ryan have done exceptionally well this year, and have shown they are mature enough and strong enough to play in the best league in Australia.

“If there are any young footballers out there with goals to go to the top level, the Mariners is the club to be at.”

These five players will be joined in future weeks by two more Under 21 players to qualify to be named the NAB Young Footballer of the Year at the Hyundai A-League Awards.

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 inaugural 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 Westfields Sports High School, the school Ryan nominated for assisting most in his junior development.

Ryan will join the rest of his Mariners teammates as they take on Brisbane Roar in the next match of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season this Wednesday, 12 January at Bluetongue Stadium. Kick-off is at 7:30pm AEDT and tickets are available by CLICKING HERE or by phoning 132 849.