San Pedro Sula: A move to the English Premier League may have given Mat Ryan a presence in the most-watched competition in world football, but adapting to the British style has been a difficult adjustment for the Australian goalkeeper.
From a proactive goalkeeper to a shot-stopper, life at Brighton has forced Ryan to go against the natural strengths that made him the Socceroos' first-choice goalkeeper since 2013.
The 25-year-old revealed the hidden cost to his move from Spanish giants Valencia to the English Premier League newcomers that required him to become a more reactive player and abandon some of his talents as a "sweeper keeper".
It's been a difficult adaptation for Ryan who has been forced to trust more in his back line dropping deep, while sharpening his reflexes in a role that makes him little more than the last line of defence.
"I thought I had to do a bit of an adjustment to my game. I think in the past I've been a little bit more proactive as a goalkeeper in terms of certain teams I played for had been perhaps higher off my line and those teams playing a bit higher. Probably the biggest thing I've noticed is how deep they play in England and the physicality of it," Ryan said.
It's a stark contrast to his style of goalkeeping that made him a No.1 in the A-League at the age of 18. It doesn't utilise his pace in coming out of his box nor his impressive footwork that was praised by former Manchester United and Australian goalkeeper Mark Bosnich.
"With the ball at his feet, I can't think of anyone that's better than him around the world, he's as good as [Manuel] Neuer. It's like having extra outfield player," Bosnich told News Limited in 2015.
For Brighton, the re-education of Ryan has been required for the defensive tactics they hope will ensure survival in their first season in the Premier League in 34 years.
"We have a defensively minded coach in Chris Houghton," Ryan said. "Our game plan is to weather the opposition's attacks. With the structures we have, I think it is one of our strengths to weather what the opposition can throw at us ... Our two central defenders, our back four, tend to sit a lot deeper and I came to understand our two big lads, our central defenders, I'll let them deal with everything that comes into the box."
However, it goes against the philosophy of Australia coach Ange Postecoglou who has made it abundantly clear that thwarting shots is not the only job of his goalkeepers. He wants them to be good with their feet and a defensive structure with only three at the back requires an interventionist gloveman, not only a shot stopper.
Switching between the two roles while staving off fierce competition from Tim Krul at the Seagulls and Mitch Langerak and Danny Vukovic in the Socceroos, has been one of the toughest challenges for Ryan.
"I've put more thought into my experience of what the boss wants and to be on top of my game to tick the box for what he wants for his goalkeeper and his team," Ryan said. "I was quite happy from making that adjustment from England to come back here and fit into the role and get back into my game [against Syria] ... It's one thing you have to pay attention to and make sure you have those adjustments in your game to win back a spot."
It will be all the more important at the Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula on Friday afternoon (Saturday morning AEDT) with the Socceroos no chance of reverting to a more defensive system. Much of that is not only to score a vital away goal, but to tire out the Hondurans ahead of a second leg fixture that will require them to travel an unprecedented distance for a qualifier, in a time zone almost no members of their squad have experienced.
"It's definitely not our style to sit back. We're a possession-based football team, we want to starve the opposition of the ball, we want to be relentless, we want to get at them, especially in these fixtures that's a home and away leg," Ryan said.
Snapping back to his original self instead of the man Brighton are moulding could prove the difference.
"I've got to play a different style," he said.