THE debate over his mullet might be raging, but when it comes to the form of Rhyan Grant the verdict is a much more overwhelming one.
As evidenced by making his senior Socceroos debut on Tuesday night, the talented defender who once graced the fields of Bathurst is playing some of the best football of his career.
Having worked hard to come back from an ACL injury – the second of his career – and impressing in his club games for Sydney FC, Grant was given the nod to play in the friendly against Lebanon.
The Canowindra native’s call up came after 150 A-League games.
And while even coach Graham Arnold joked about his current hairstyle, quipping “He might have to fix that haircut before he comes in,” he was impressed enough by what he had seen from Grant this season to give him a full 90 minutes.
Grant not only worked hard in defence to help the Socceroos keep a clean sheet in the 3-0 triumph, but he helped create chances too.
READ MORE: Grant makes his senior Socceroos debut
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In the ninth minute a crunching midfield tackle Grant made saw the ball spill to Martin Boyle, who fired in a shot which fizzed wide. In the 80th minute his cross gave Andrew Nabbout a chance, but his header travelled over the crossbar.
It was a match that Grant, who is now 27, will not soon forget.
“To play for your country is always an ambition as a footballer and to do that on Tuesday was something I’ll never forget,” Grant told SydneyFC.com
“I would have been happy with any minutes, but to get a start and play 90 is a dream come true and I’m over the moon with that.
“I think the transition for me to be able to play a very similar brand of football to what I play at club level made it a little bit easier for me.
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“Knowing the staff and what they expect definitely helps when you make your debut on the international stage. I was very lucky to have that behind me and know what they wanted.”
Grant’s senior debut was accompanied by plenty of amusing social media comment on his mullet – something that he says is here to stay for the time being.
“I feel like a lot of soccer players have the same haircut, so I didn’t want to fall into that same category,” Grant said.
“You either love it or hate it, I suppose you’ve got to take a side but I’m loving it at the minute, so I’ll keep it for a while I reckon.
“The more people give me stick about it, the more I want to keep it. So I’m copping it a fair bit but that’s what it’s all about. I don’t see it going anywhere.”
The focus for Grant now is to continue his good club form for Sydney FC, who headed into the fifth round sitting second on the ladder with two wins and two draws thus far.
Sydney FC will meet fourth-placed Melbourne Victory – the team Grant scored against in the sky blue’s 2017 grand final win – on Sunday.
“It’ll be a huge game against one of our biggest rivals,” Grant said.
“The Big Blue is always tough and always a great game. It’s something to look forward to and we definitely go out there expecting to win.
“Playing at Kogarah will be nice, to get on that pitch and good turnout and put on a good show.”