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Mathew Ryan, left, and Mitch Langerak, right, will battle it out for Australia’s No. 1 position.

Goalkeeper Mat Ryan is feeling the heat to keep his Socceroos spot — and he doesn’t want it any other way.

Ryan says he’s the perfect example of the burgeoning depth in the 23-man squad for Thursday’s vital World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia.

Ryan started in Australia’s 2-2 draw against the United Arab Emirates in March but his rival Mitch Langerak got the nod for the previous fixture against Iraq.

And Ryan says he’s relishing his personal duel with Langerak who was in stunning form for German club Stuttgart, playing every minute of their league campaign to help earn promotion to the top-flight Bundesliga.

“It has been great for the squad that a number of guys have been successful at their clubs,” Ryan told reporters in Adelaide on Sunday.

“It’s a real positive reflection of being an Australian … it’s in our DNA and that is exactly what we strive for.

“There is always an increase in the number of guys heading overseas and getting deals and playing well and winning trophies and it’s only going to complement us as a team.

“The depth in the squad at the moment is very strong.”

Ryan, who returned to form during his stint on loan to Belgium’s Racing Genk from his Spanish club Valencia, said the squeeze for spots was exactly what Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou wanted.

“He doesn’t want any player being relaxed in their position. The positions are always up for grabs, and that is how it should be in a national team,” Ryan said.

Craig Johnston says there is a grass roots problem with Australian football, with not enough talent coming through.

“At the end of the day, the best man has got to win the spot.

“Individually it can be disappointing if you miss out but we all put that behind us for the best of the team, can honestly say we’re a really good group for that.

“But it just makes us work even harder.

“I’m an example of that. My spot is not guaranteed either. So I’m doing the best I can to win that spot on Thursday night.”


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