• Dream debut season ... goalkeeper Mat Ryan (Getty)
Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan has left such a big impression in his first season with Club Brugge that the Belgian club wants to extend his contract.
By
SBS: Philip Micallef

22 Mar 2014 - 8:29 AM  UPDATED 22 Mar 2014 - 2:31 PM

Ryan, who is the frontrunner to keep goal for the Socceroos in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June, has made a barnstorming start to his career in Europe after leaving Central Coast Mariners at the end of last season.

But while he feels honoured by Brugge's approach he said he has adopted a wait-and-see attitude on the matter of securing his future.

"Brugge have been in contact with me a couple of times to extend my contract which runs for two more seasons after this," Ryan said as he and his teammates prepare for the end-of-season playoffs.

"The feedback I get from them is that they're happy with me so I'm flattered but I'm not rushing into anything. There is a process.

"I have played 30 matches of the league season so far, I have not missed a game and I have kept 11 clean sheets.

"I'm sure that the coach (Michel Preud'homme) is very happy with the whole team as it's a group effort.

"I know we are proud of our efforts and statistics but there is always room for improvement and the season is not over yet."

Ryan's commanding performances between the sticks have helped galvanise a club that has not won the Belgian championship since 2004-2005, when it snatched a league and cup double.

It finished second in this regular season behind Standard Liege and it enters the top-six playoffs starting with a match against Lokeren next Saturday with momentum.

The club has high hopes of breaking its drought and gain direct access to next season's UEFA Champions League.

"The club is very ambitious and sets high standards for each and every season and rightly so given its great history," he explained.

"It's been nine years since they last won the title and this is the best position they've been in at this time of the year for the past few seasons so everyone is understandably excited."

The Champions League would be a dream come true for Ryan.

In a whirlwind 12 months he has won the A-League championship with the Mariners, established himself as a professional in Europe and become a Socceroos player.

He is also certain to be picked in Ange Postecoglou's World Cup squad.

"I would love to become a champion here and qualify for the pinnacle of the game at club level," he said.

"Definitely it would be a dream come true but before that there are a couple of other dreams that I would like to realise first, such as winning my first championship in Europe."

So does Ryan, who will be 22 in April, think that things are happening too fast for him and he needs to keep a cool head on his young shoulders?

"I often go through my ride as a professional footballer to date," he said.

"I think back to situations where I have had a bit of luck in getting an opportunity to play.

"When these opportunities arise, that's when you yourself have to rise to the occasion and prove that you're good enough.

"I had the pleasure of a great upbringing from my family "¦ teaching me the importance of life, respect, attitude et cetera.

"I think that's helped me become the footballer I am. I take nothing for granted and always continue to work hard to improve."

Ryan said he misses Australia and cannot wait for the end of the season and the chance to come home for his holidays although he admits he is unsure of how much free time he will have, such are the constant demands on successful professional footballers these days.

"I miss family and friends, you don't realise until you've left how difficult it is," he said.

"Yes, I plan on having holidays in 'Oz' but I'm not sure how long I'll have back home though."

But holidays is the furthest on his mind at the moment as he prepares to negotiate the business end of the season.

"Our main goal at Brugge is to win the championship and earn qualification for the Champions League," he said.

"That's my main focus at the moment."

Before the holidays there is plenty of hard work to be done and pressure to overcome but Ryan would not have it any other way.