As the clock approached 9pm on Wednesday, September 24, the midfielder entered the fray alongside another Academy graduate - a certain Harry Kane - in a double substitution as we trailed Forest 1-0 in the Capital One Cup at White Hart Lane.
Seven minutes later, and Ryan's life changed forever.
Picking up a pass from Ben Davies on the left, some 35 yards from goal, Ryan took the ball out of his feet and unleashed the goal of his life into the top corner.
That strike sparked the comeback on the night - goals from Roberto Soldado and Harry made it 3-1, and we went on to reach the final - and earned Ryan a full debut in nothing less than the North London derby at the Emirates.
He excelled again in the 1-1 draw and was a fixture in the team from that point, eventually wracking up 37 appearances in all competitions.
Whatever path his career takes from now, he can pinpoint that Autumn night for the rest of his life.
"I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason and the time was right for me," said Ryan, who returned to the club last summer for pre-season after a loan spell at Swindon Town in League One in 2013-14.
"Perhaps if I’d have played earlier in my career it might not have gone so well.
"I came on against Forest and it was meant to happen. It was a great feeling. It set me up and I kicked on from there.
Below: Graphic of Ryan's goal
"Maybe a few eyebrows were raised when the gaffer stuck me in against Arsenal, a massive game. For me, after the faith he showed in me, it was important to play well and repay that faith. If I hadn’t done well, that might have backfired. Thankfully, it went well again.
"It was great that he gave a young, home-grown player a chance in such a big game and I'd like to think it has proved to be the right decision."
COMING WEDNESDAY - The Big Interview with Ryan...