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Premiership Star in the Making: Cardiff’s Adam Matthews

Cardiff have developed a reputation for bringing through a number of the best Welsh footballers – the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Chris Gunter and Joe Ledley emerged not too long ago from their academy with the likes of James Collins and Robert Earnshaw also having emerged from the club. The latest prospect to appear on the scene is 18-year-old (from today) right back Adam Matthews, a talented youngster who’s already being linked with multi million pound moves to Arsenal and Manchester United.

Cardiff have a degree of luck on their side as to how they got hold of Matthews; the youngster, who considered playing rugby ahead of football before rejecting Rugby union side Ospreys in favour of a move into football, originally went on trial at local rivals Swansea City and looked set to sign for them. However, Matthews suffered a broken arm and was told to come back to the club when he’d recovered. By the time he did Swansea told him that their youth academy was full and he’d have to look elsewhere.

Matthews didn’t wait around and went for a trial at Cardiff where he was the only one accepted to join the academy out of forty applicants. He signed for Cardiff at the age of 8 and learned his trade, going through the youth teams at the club before making it to the reserves and then eventually being given the call to the first team following his good performances for both Cardiff’s reserves and Wales Under 17’s. Originally a midfielder, Matthews was taught to be a defender as Cardiff coaches saw potential in him becoming a full back.

Matthews first appeared in the Cardiff first team on the 21st of April 2009 as a substitute against Charlton Athletic although he wasn’t brought on. It was a while before he finally played for the first team, coming on as a substitute against Blackpool on the 15th of August. Injuries in the squad then gave Matthews the chance to impress in the first team and he took his chance with both hands – impressing from his first start and earning himself a regular starting spot even when the injured players started to return through his fine performances, mixing attack and defence well with calm, composed displays and good crossing ability. Matthews even managed to score his first goal for the club on the 3rd of October when his 50 yard free kick was misjudged by Watford goalkeeper Scott Loach and went straight in.

Matthews move to the Cardiff first team has gotten him spotted by his international side and Matthews has now made his bow for the Wales Under 21’s and was even called up for the full Wales squad in November although he didn’t make it off the bench. An international debut is surely just around the corner for the talented right back.

So how is the teenager taking his newfound success? Is it getting to his head? No actually, the modest Matthews says

“It’s been a surprising start for me being in the Cardiff City first team already and then called up by Wales for the under-21s squad, I’d not really expected to be in this squad yet, but I’m loving being a part of what is happening.”

His emergence has naturally caught the eye of bigger clubs and it would be no surprise to see Matthews move to a Premiership club in the near future, interest from Manchester United and Arsenal is said to be concrete although Cardiff will fight bitterly to keep hold of their latest star. The future’s bright for the young Welshman though who will definitely appear in the Premiership one day and I’m sure he’ll make a good job of it too.

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