Brighton & Hove Albion star Mathew Ryan has claimed that his determination to succeed in football came after being faced with rejection as a youngster because of his height.
The Austrialia international stands at 184cm - just over 6ft - but his outstanding displays for the Seagulls this season have gone some way in dispelling the myth that you have to be tall (well, really tall) to be a goalkeeper.
"I’m not the tallest of keepers and even then, I was a late developer, so I was even smaller in comparison to most growing up," Ryan told the i. "I guess that’s why I’m so determined. I experienced rejection early on because of my height and just wanted to prove how good I was."
Ryan first moved to Europe in 2013 after impressing with Central Coast Mariners in the A-League, joining Belgian side Club Brugge.
The 25-year-old has since gone on to play for Valencia and KRC Genk before swapping the southeastern coast of Spain for England's last summer.
"I’ve never performed badly because of my height," he added. "It’s more about my positions, my decisions, my timing and physical attributes like my speed. If I know that those are all right, then it doesn’t matter how tall I am."
Along with defenders Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk, Ryan has played a vital role in Brighton's first Premier League campaign and has helped open up a four-point gap ahead of the relegation places.