On-loan defender Dylan Ryan hopes an A-League breakthrough at Melbourne Victory can keep him firmly in Graham Arnold’s Olyroos calculations for the Tokyo Olympics, should they go ahead.
Ryan, who is contracted at Dutch Eredivisie club Willem II, joined Victory in November and made multiple appearances during the club’s Asian Champions League campaign.
The 20-year-old is now chasing his first domestic game time, but faces stiff competition for spots from the likes of Nick Ansell and former Premier League centre-back Ryan Shotton in the heart of Victory’s defence.
“I feel like I had some good performances (in the ACL) and coming into the A-League is the next step for me,” Ryan said.
“I think I’m ready for it, so it will be good, and hopefully later in the year the Olympics continues.
“I want to get a lot of games under my belt and head (to Tokyo) and play as many games as I can there and see where it takes me.”
All going to plan, that path will see Ryan back in Europe, where the Wollongong product and former Liverpool youth player sees his long-term future.
But for now he is focused on learning as much as he can from his more-experienced Victory teammates, including English defender Shotton.
The 32-year-old former Stoke City, Derby County, Birmingham City and Middlesbrough man has been tasked with developing Victory’s younger players.
“He’s been a good mentor so far and he’s helping me out a lot on the pitch,” Ryan said.
“I can see myself learning heaps off him. It’s going to be good.”
Victory coach Grant Brebner has been impressed with Ryan since his arrival from Holland, despite his inexperience at senior level.
“Dylan has been playing under-23s football and it’s a little bit different playing men’s football,” Brebner said.
“He knows that, he’s adjusting to that and he’s done well in any game we’ve asked him to play in so far.”
Ryan will be in the Victory squad for Saturday’s match away to Adelaide United after being left on the bench in the season-opening defeat to Brisbane Roar.