Central Coast Mariners won’t stand in the way of its in-demand goalkeeper Mat Ryan if he is offered a contract with an English Premier League club.
The Mariners’ prodigious talent, who was voted A-League Goalkeeper of the Year last season, is training with EPL giant Tottenham Hotspur and will link up with West Bromwich Albion and Wigan Athletic over the next three weeks.
The 20 year-old has a year left on his Central Coast deal, but the club’s director of football Lawrie McKinna said the Mariners won’t hold Ryan back if an offer is presented, despite off-loading a large number of players from the squad that won the A-League premiership last season.
“Mat is one of the best keepers in Australia and when clubs like Spurs, West Brom and Wigan show interest you have to give the boy the opportunity to go there, so they can have a look,” McKinna said.
“We have shown in the past we do not try and prevent players bettering themselves with the likes Mile Jedinak, Rostyn Griffiths, Matt Simon and Alex Wilkinson.
“If it’s beneficial to the club and also to the player then you have to look at it because after all, football is a business.
“Mat is a great talent and he is going to go somewhere. He is still so young and has a huge career ahead of him and I feel he is certainly going to be good enough to play in the Premier league.
“We don’t have a figure yet in our minds ion what we would accept should an offer come.
“Right now, he’s just there enjoying the opportunity to go there and train.
“We don’t start playing any pre-season games until late August against state league clubs and this was the ideal time for him to go.”
On his first day at training with Spurs, Ryan received a one-on-one tutorial from ex-Northern Ireland international Pat Jennings - veteran of more than 500 appearances in goal for the club and a member of the club’s coaching staff.
He also kept goal against Spurs’ Croatian star Luka Modric.
“This is a great experience and adventure for Mat even if nothing else happens,” Ryan's agent said.
“It’s too early to talk about him signing for this club or that club. Right now it’s about the experience for him but if an offer does come in then we’ll have that discussion with the Mariners about it.
“Hopefully, if that is the case we can work out something which is good for the player and also the club and everybody comes to the party.”
Promising striker Tomi Juric has been lured to Western Sydney Wanderers on a two-year deal as coach Tony Popovic sets about tweaking his Premiers’ Plate winning side for next season.