Next in the line of quality youngsters to recently come out of Wales is the Cardiff City full-back Adam Matthews. Following in the footsteps of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, Matthews is expected to make the step into the Premier League sooner rather than later.
Born in Swansea in 1992, Matthews was originally on trial at rivals Swansea City until a broken arm ended his chances of a place in their youth set-up. After recovering, Matthews instead completed a trial with the Bluebirds who were quick to sign the youngster, then aged 8, into the academy where they continued to oversee his development until he signed his first professional contract in 2009.
He made his debut last August in a game against Blackpool before scoring his first goal for the club in October 2009 against Watford. Matthews has currently played 32 league games for Cardiff, scoring the one goal. His performances last season earned him the award of the Football League Apprentice of the Year for the Championship.
Matthew’s rise through the international fold is also making steady progress. Having been a part of both the Wales under-17 and under 19s set-up, he is currently forcing his way into the under-21 side, after making his first appearance in December 2009. Matthews even received a call from the senior side for a friendly against Scotland a month earlier but remained on the bench throughout.
The youngster has previously been linked to both Arsenal and Manchester United, with some sources even having reported that a deal had been completed for Matthews to move to Old Trafford. Although proved untrue, Sir Alex Ferguson will certainly be keeping an eye on his progress.
More recently, Aston Villa have been credited with an interest, who under Martin O’Neill have signed a number of young, talented British players. Matthew’s status as a future Premier League player would have already been guaranteed had Cardiff tasted victory in the Championship play-off final. Still only 18 years of age however, his time will definitely come.