The Steven Bradbury of the Socceroos

08:00 EAT 20/04/2019
Ryan McGowan Socceroos
Two sportsman that found themselves thrust into the spotlight with a bit of luck

Australian defender Ryan McGowan has compared his appearances for the Socceroos at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to Steven Bradbury's fortuitous gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Used primarily in friendlies leading up to the tournament, McGowan ultimately featured in all three of Australia's group games after a succession of injuries left him as Ange Postecoglou's only option at right-back. 

"I was very lucky," McGowan told BBC Scotland

"If you've ever heard of a guy called Steven Bradbury...well he's an Australian ice skater. He was the first Australian to ever make the final in the Winter Olympics. In the last lap they all fell over and he just strolled in and won gold. And I'm literally the Steven Bradbury of the Australian team.

"Because that World Cup in Brazil I wasn't sure, I was definitely on the edge of making the cut or not being involved. I got selected to make the final 23 so I was absolutely buzzing. I was just gonna be the best team mate like helping the kit man, getting all the water, just being the loser of the team. 

"The first game, the right-back pulled his hamstring and it just happened that quickly that the coach was like 'sh*t, get on'. We got beat but I still made an appearance and was just thinking retire the next day. 

"And then it started in my head that I might play the next two games, that'd be pretty good. 

"They shape the team up for Holland, they've put (Mark) Milligan in a right-back and then Milligan gets injured at training and I honestly remember the coach in deep talk with his assistant and 100 per cent they were saying, 'oh my god, we're going to have to play McGowan'.

"And because you can't bring anyone else in I was literally the guy on the field saying 'I can probably play there'."

At the right place at the right time, McGowan started the Socceroos remaining two games and laid on the assist for Tim Cahill's stunning strike in a 3-2 loss to the Netherlands. 

Since 2014, the current Dundee player has struggled to cement his spot in Australia's squad and wasn't included in the Socceroos 2018 World Cup side. 

The 29-year-old has made 20 appearances overall for the green and gold with his last cap coming in World Cup qualifying in 2017.