Hearts of Aussie gold: Ryan McGowan the Scottish Socceroo
With the Olympics done and dusted, the soccer season has come back around already and the Scottish Premier League was the first to kick off earlier this month. Edinburgh’s Hearts FC defender – Aussie Ryan McGowan who made his Socceroo debut last week – speaks to JONATHAN WALDHEIM about his upcoming season and life in Scotland.
What are your aims and goals for the upcoming season?
Aims for this season will be to try and play as many games as I can and to keep learning and hopefully improving in each game to become a better player.
Before your Socceroo debut against Scotland last week, you represented Australia at youth level. How was that experience?
I have loved every minute of playing for Australia at youth level. From my first ever camp when I was 16 at the AIS with the Joeys to the Olympic campaign last year, any time you get a call to represent your country you jump at the chance.
Who is your favourite Aussie player of all time?
I’m not sure I would have a favourite. Growing up it would be the likes of Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka as they both played for massive clubs overseas which was something that I wanted to aspire too. Tim Cahill is also one, due to the way he worked so hard to get to where he is today.
Who are or were your footballing idols when growing up?
I never really had an idol as such. I just loved watching football! It wouldn’t matter who was playing, I would love watching games and picking up things from different players and different styles of play.
How do you like life in the UK and what is your favourite thing about Edinburgh?
I love life over here in Edinburgh. As a football fan it’s perfect – everyone just lives and breathes football! Newspapers, radio, TV – everything just has football nonstop. I’m also very lucky to be able to earn a living in such a beautiful city doing something that I love. There’s not a city that I know of that has shops, bars and cafes on one side of the street and then a castle on the other! It’s just a great place to live.
There are over a 100 Aussies playing football in the UK, do you think that Australia has a bright future in soccer?
Australian football is getting better and better I think. With the A-League getting stronger and more young players coming through, not only over here but in Asia as well, it can only be a good thing. The more players we can get playing at the highest level the better.
What do you miss most about Australia?
Well living in the UK – it would have to be the nice weather. To think I used to complain about how hot it was when I was younger compared to now, where you maybe see the sun for 10 days a year (laughs)!
What do you get up to when not training or playing?
We train near enough every day but on the days we get off, I like to go for a round of golf with a few of the boys, although I need a lot of work on my golf if I want to be considered a good golfer! I also enjoy going to the movies and just hanging out with mates – nothing too exciting!
How often do you go back to Australia?
I only normally get to head back to Australia at the end of the season depending on how long we get off but I do enjoy going back to see all my family and friends.
In your position, who do you think your game resembles the most in modern football?
I couldn’t really say a player resembles how I play to be honest – I would leave that up to people who watch me to say that.
How do you feel Hearts’ chances of success are this year?
I’m hoping it we will be a very successful season. Obviously 19 May (2012) was an amazing way to end the season thumping your local rivals in the Scottish Cup Final (Hearts beat Hibernian 5-1) but this season we will have a lot younger squad which is exciting to be a part of. A club the size of Hearts must be looking to get, or be close to, second place this season with Rangers out of the league. I’m very excited to see how we get on.
Born in Australia to Scottish parentage, do you consider yourself more of a Scot than an Aussie?
I would consider myself a born and raised Australian and a proud one at that! Although I do have a Scottish background which I am proud of as well – with all my family being born here.
Thanks Ryan, congrats on your Socceroos call up and good luck for the new season!