Date: 20th June 2017 at 8:51am
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The blow of losing David Stockdale, opting to stay in the Championship with Birmingham, was offset by the signing of ex-Club Brugge goalkeeper Mathew Ryan from Valencia last week.

Ryan, having penned a long-term deal with Brighton, enjoyed his two years in La Liga at Valencia, making it clear he appreciated the opportunity he was given at the Mestalla.

He told the Official Website: ‘I`m thankful to them for the opportunity to be at one of the biggest clubs in the world and to see how it operates on a day-to-day basis. It gave me an opportunity to play against some of the best teams and players in the world. I only have positive things to say about the club.’

Admittedly the Australian international, currently on Confederations Cup duty with his country, would have preferred more first team football but Ryan went on to say he gained a lot from his time in Spain.

‘There`s no shying away from the fact that I probably would have preferred a little bit more game time but that`s the way it goes. I learned a lot of things from the experiences there. It`s onwards and upwards from here and I`m just focusing on the future.’

Having achieved Premier League status it was a no-brainer for Ryan to come to the Amex Stadium, feeling wanted from the initial moment Chris Hughton expressed an interest.

Ryan said: ‘They`ve been there or thereabouts in previous seasons and finally achieved the qualification into the Premier League this year. Just look at the players and the teams that play in the Premier League and it`s pretty easy to give an answer on why you choose to move there. From the moment that there was interest, I felt the love at the club and the real want to get me there. Every day the interest got stronger and the deal seemed to get sweeter by the minute.’

There’s no disputing what a void Stockdale will leave – you can only think money has proven the contributing factor to his decision to remain in the Championship at Birmingham as opposed to joining Brighton in the Premier League – but as a proven international keeper himself Ryan should be able to fill the gap, a challenge the Aussie is up for.

He concluded: ‘I heard that he [Stockdale] had a great season. Credit to him, he`s been around England for a long time and he`s a very established goalkeeper. It`s a nice challenge for me to improve on what he did at the club and I wouldn`t be coming if I didn`t have a bit of self-confidence to do well. Hopefully, throughout the matches, I can contribute. A good goalkeeper is needed in a team to take some points here and there. I`m just looking forward to the challenge.’

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