Adam Matthews 21 Defender Celtic Wales
2013 has been…
Rather good; assuming you are happy to ignore the injuries that have held him back. Since moving north of the border in 2011, Adam Matthews has done a very fine job of making the right-back position in the Celtic side his own. A wonderful player when he is roaring forward, Matthews possesses a very consistent delivery that has seen him become a steady stream of goals for the Scottish champions over the last two and a half years.
Since moving from Cardiff City, Matthews has found a comfortable level in the Scottish Premiership. He has proved to be a shrewd piece of business for the Glasgow side, along with Joe Ledley, and has meant they have another young, promising asset that will be attracting attention in the coming year or two.
At 21, he very much has the best years of his career ahead of him; especially as he faces something of a battle in the short-term for his place in the side. Adam is still improving as a full-back and has seen his year hampered a little by a couple of injuries. An injury picked up in October ended his year two months early and has allowed Mikael Lustig to install himself as the robust, dependable option for Neil Lennon. Matthews will need to go some on his return to prove to his manager that he should be trusted as his number two in the long-term.
Matthews could do with improving his defensive work-rate and positioning. However, he’s not going to get a lot of practice doing that when playing for Celtic. He can change his natural game to suit the big occasions; and he’s done decent jobs against the likes of Barcelona and Milan in the Champions League, but we worry he’s not switched on enough to play at a more challenging level currently.
One of the most promising right-backs in the United Kingdom, we have no doubt more than a few clubs have tracked his progress. Give his size and his frequency for picking up injuries of late, there may be a couple of suitors that have already closed the book on Adam. However, we’ve seen nothing as yet that would make us think they’ll be a long term problem for the lad. He’ll need to work on not being muscled off the ball so easily; but he’ll improve on knowing the challenges to avoid as well becoming a little more robust as he gets more games under him.
A calculated move to the Championship, followed by a timely promotion could have Matthews playing in the English top flight; should he want to. He could comfortably play at that level; but we’re not sure that he’ll stand out to many Premier League managers as the answer to filling the hole at right-back; purely because of the late of defensive work he is required to do with Celtic. The ease with which Victor Wanyama has settled into the Premier League will help his chances and lift his value just a little.
For now, he will have a string of domestic trophies to chase with Celtic once he gets back from his current shoulder problem. It’s a real blow for him and the club that Celtic’s European campaign is over before Christmas; but they can make up for that disappointment by romping to the league title.
Adam could also prove to be an important part in the career of Gareth Bale. Bale, the new hope of Welsh football, will be keen not to emulate one of Ryan Gigg’s unwanted achievements. Giggs usually stars on lists of the game’s greatest ever players to never appear at a major football tournament.
With Matthews, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey and a string of youngsters currently breaking into some of England’s biggest teams, Bale should find himself surrounded by a group of players able to get through a qualifying campaign. Matthews, rampaging forward down the right flank, should become a valuable source of sources for the Real Madrid star. Euro 2016 may just give Matthews the chance to star with the European football community watching.
"I happen to think he's absolutely brilliant. There is a complication to mention in that Mikel Lustig has cemented himself as first-choice due to one or two injuries to Matthews. Matthews had previously been moved to right-wing fn an effort to fit them both into the team and take advantage of his attacking qualities. For me the best young right-back in the U.K. (bias much?)" - Michael Gunn, tictactic
"Kris Commons (11) was the only Celtic player to deliver more assists in the Scottish Premier League last season than full-back Adam Matthews (8). In fact, only three players (Doran, Commons and Ojamaa) in the league assisted more." - Opta
C Needs to work on taking the odd bump or two. From there, he can go most places