Graham Arnold and Socceroos skipper Mat Ryan reflect ahead of France’s World Cup opener in Qatar

Graham Arnold and Socceroos skipper Mat Ryan reflect ahead of France’s World Cup opener in Qatar

Graham Arnold and Socceroos skipper Mat Ryan share a touching moment as the countdown begins for their World Cup clash with France

With less than 24 hours to go until the Socceroos’ World Cup opener against France, a moving video shows the close bond between coach Graham Arnold and skipper Mat Ryan.

Arnold signed the goalkeeper in 2010 while coaching Central Coast Mariners in the A-League – and it’s been quite a journey since.

Ryan, 30, has carved out a successful career in Europe with clubs including Club Brugge, Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal – and Qatar will be his third consecutive World Cup between the sticks for Australia.

In the inspiring Socceroos clip uploaded to Twitter, Arnold acknowledges how far the keeper has come.

“Can you imagine 12 or 13 years ago when I brought you in with the Mariners, we would be here now, getting ready to talk about the French,” he said.

Socceroos boss Graham Arnold identified Mat Ryan's talent as a teenager - and handed him his first professional A-League contract in 2010.

Socceroos boss Graham Arnold identified Mat Ryan’s talent as a teenager – and handed him his first professional A-League contract in 2010.

“It’s crazy when you think about it…now we’re here as captain and coach.”

A humble Ryan replies, “definitely not, and what a journey it’s been,” he said.

“You have shown tremendous confidence in me, I really appreciate it, I can’t wait to pay you back.”

Ryan has been a long-time favorite of Arnold, who gave the glover his first professional contract after spotting him playing with semi-professional club Blacktown City aged 18.

Despite indifferent form this season with FC Copenhagen in Denmark, Ryan will be Australia’s goalkeeper in the Middle East, with Andrew ‘Grey Wiggle’ Redmayne and Danny Vukovic his assistants.

Arnold spotted Mat Ryan playing state league football with Blacktown City and felt he had the potential to be an elite footballer, which turned out to be true.

Arnold spotted Mat Ryan playing state league football with Blacktown City and felt he had the potential to be an elite footballer, which turned out to be true.

Speaking ahead of the Socceroos opener, Ryan said collective belief was key.

“The biggest focus for us has been the mentality and the boys have understood the mentality: we go into every game, regardless of our opponents, with the right respect,” he said.

“We don’t underestimate anyone and we don’t overrespect anyone.”

Veteran winger Mat Leckie is expected to start in place of Martin Boyle, who was ruled out of the tournament on Sunday with a knee injury.

Kick-off is Wednesday at 6 a.m. (AEDT), live on SBS.

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