Meet Alexander-Arnold’s Aussie ex-teammate thriving in Holland

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Dylan Ryan can see a breakthrough coming in the Eredivisie soon after being handed a two-year contract extension by Dutch club Willem II.

Ryan joined the Tricolores in January 2017 after two years with the academy of Liverpool FC. The centre back joined the English Premier League giants at the age of 15 after leaving Wollongong.

After starring with the Olyroos in Thailand and helping them qualify for the Olympics, the 19-year-old has been rewarded with a new contract in Tilburg.

“This season has been really good with the team,” he told The World Game.

“We’re fifth at the moment in the league, so it’s been the best season since I’ve been here. I’ve just renewed my contract, I have another two years now after this season, which is good.

“I can see a good future here at the club. The coaches are really happy, I’m really happy, so it was a good decision I made.

“Coming back from the tournament in Thailand with the Olyroos that showed them as well the qualities that I have and the potential I’ve got. I’m enjoying it here a lot.”

After initially spending time with Willem II’s Under-19s, Ryan has been playing for the club’s reserve team. The defender is targeting a place in the first-team for the start of the 2020-2021 season.

“I’ve been playing with the second team for the past two years,” he explained.

“We’re in a league where we play against Feyenoord and the likes of those clubs. It’s a great team. We’ve got a good bunch of lads.

“We have more players at the club – not players on loan – so they’re actually fighting for the team. We got off to a good start and used the momentum for the first part of the season.

“The second half of the season has started a bit rough but I’m sure we can stay up and keep on a high. A lot of people are going towards the end of their contract this year and that’s my chance next season [in the first-team].

“Pre-season is to try and secure a spot in the first XI, and if not, the 12th or 13th spot I guess.”

This season Ryan has watched closely as his former club Liverpool dominate the Premier League, with his ex-academy Trent Alexander-Arnold centre stage. The Olyroo loved his own time on Merseyside and has been impressed with the Reds’ record-breaking run.

“It was a good experience at Liverpool, it was unbelievable,” Ryan admitted.

“It taught me a lot in the football world. I developed in two years ridiculously. Liverpool are the best team in the world by far at the moment.

“They’re doing very well. To see Trent Alexander-Arnold in the first-team, I was playing with him when I was at Liverpool.

“To see him now killing in the first-team for the past couple of seasons… he’s probably the best right back in the league at the moment. He’s unbelievable. It’s good to see him doing well.”

Ryan has no regrets about leaving England and embarking on a new journey in Holland.

“I decided to take a new path to a league where they promote young players,” he said.

“I’ve yet to get my chance but I can see it soon, I’ve just got to keep working hard. I’ll get my chance soon I think.

“I love this country. Holland’s a nice country, very relaxed, friendly people. Everyone speaks English so it was easy for me to settle down quickly.

“I’m learning the language – I’m getting there, it’s a tough language to learn. It’s been good.

“I’ve got a girlfriend now, we’ve been together for almost two years and we’ve got an apartment together. My life outside of football here is like home now. I enjoy it.”

Source SBS The World Game