Johnny Cantor / Maty Ryan has made a smooth transition to Graham Potter's new style at Brighton
It’s a breath of fresh air’, ‘I’m excited by these players’, ‘I come away from games feeling positive’.
Just some of the comments from the former Brighton and Hove Albion manager Alan Mullery when he chatted to me for this week’s Albion Unlimited podcast on BBC Sussex. Alan’s words reflected so many of the fans in the opening weeks of the Premier League season.
The main talking point around the club has been the new style of the play and the progressive nature of the football under Graham Potter. Some pundits have questioned the dramatic change in policy as the team has not secured the points it perhaps deserved. Leandro Trossard’s exciting start to the campaign and his subsequent absence due to injury has been discussed as well.
This weekend the focus will no doubt turn to the attacking players on show like England captain Harry Kane, who Mullery says is the most expensive striker on the planet at the moment. He is probably right. Goals change games and forwards generally receive the adulation of young supporters for their goals more than those players in other positions on the pitch.
However, there is one who perhaps has not received the plaudits he deserves as the Seagulls change their strategy. Goalkeeper Maty Ryan is undoubtedly one of the best shot stoppers in the division.
He proved that yet again at Stamford Bridge last weekend. Albion could well have suffered a much heavier defeat against Chelsea had it not been for the Australian’s performance. He has also adapted to the new system this season. He is not the biggest in stature, he isn’t the tallest keeper and he doesn’t have the longest kick in the Premier League but has generally looked accomplished with the ball at his feet.
There will always be the odd hiccup for keepers as Dean Henderson and Hugo Lloris will testify in the last 10 days, but Ryan and his distribution is integral to the way the team is being asked to play.
Ultimately if he goes unnoticed he will have done his job. He received attention in West London for his countless saves but he will be hoping he isn’t called into action as many times in the weeks to come.
Some ex-players in the media say the Albion may need to revise the way they play if the results don’t come. Either way Ryan remains a very important player for the club as it looks to secure its place in the top flight for a fourth season. It may be with his hands or his feet, but he deserves credit for the smooth transition so far.
Johnny Cantor is a commentator for BBC Sussex
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