Arsenal fan Ryan delighted with loan switch to London side

(Reuters) - Australian goalkeeper Mat Ryan said joining the club he backed as a youngster is a surreal experience that has filled him with great pride, after the 28-year-old sealed a loan switch to Premier League side Arsenal from Brighton & Hove Albion.

Ryan was a regular in the Brighton goalmouth since joining from Valencia in 2017 but fell out of favour with manager Graham Potter last season and the opportunity to spend the rest of the current campaign with Arsenal proved too good to resist.

"There's still an aura of surrealness to it all, to be honest," Ryan said on Arsenal's website. "I'm really proud, it's great and it's hard to sort of put into words the emotions and feeling that this is becoming a reality.

"All those mornings as a young kid in Australia, getting up to watch the Champions League games and all that at four o'clock in the morning when I had school and these types of things.

Ryan, who is Australia's first-choice goalkeeper, will now compete for a starting berth with Arsenal's Bernd Leno.

"I've never been a goalkeeper where I've liked to sit on the bench. I'm sure every goalkeeper says that, but I've come here under the circumstances where Bernd's done a great job since he's arrived and he's a top-quality goalkeeper," Ryan added.

"But I believe that I've shown that in my career until now and I'm looking to come in and push him and him push me. We'll try to get the best out of one another and to improve as individuals."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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