He's just finished his first season in the English Premier League and is set for his second World Cup with the Socceroos, but Mat Ryan was almost convinced a lack of height meant he'd never make it to the pinnacle as a goalkeeper.
Ryan burst onto the A-League scene with Central Coast Mariners under Graham Arnold, spending three seasons with the club before earning a move to Belgium.
During his time on the Central Coast, Ryan was itching to test himself in Europe and earned a trial at Tottenham which almost crushed his hopes of making it to the top.
"He was always panicking and we had many conversations," Arnold told FFA TV.
"He felt that he wasn't tall enough to play in the English Premier League.
"He went to Tottenham for a trial and the feedback was he's only [184cm] and in the UK [they] want goalkeepers that are 195cm.
"I think he felt that was something that could have stood in his way."
Despite the doubts, Ryan would be signed by Club Brugge not long after the Tottenham trial and quickly proved he could cut it in Europe.
"I think he felt the Valencia move was a failure," Arnold said.
"It wasn't a failure, it was a lesson in life. If you look at those things that certain way, then it can bring you down.
"So I talk to him quite a bit now and I've got a guy that works with him as well that helps him mentally. Gives him the belief, the confidence and a mentor to talk to.
"What he's dong at Brighton...he's doing the whole country proud."