Matt Miazga 20 Defender Vitesse (on loan from Chelsea) USA
Matt Miazga has the makings of a very good centre back. He is a tall, strong lad and possesses good instincts for a defender. He is frequently moving and adjusting to improve and correct his positioning; which actually keeps attackers guessing on how to take him on.
He thinks of himself as a leader in defence and during his time with New York Red Bulls, he was a constant talker across the defence. Given that he was one of the best defenders in the league, he was able to take control of the defence and organise those around him.
It helped that he played in Major League Soccer as part of a system that made his life easier than most. The team worked hard to press the ball high up the pitch, and while Miazga still had defending to do – it wasn’t as taxing as it might have been.
The positives very much outweigh the negatives, and any main worries that we have should get ironed out with experience.
2016 has been…
…far from ideal. The first six months were spent settling into London life and though he played in a couple of Premier League matches, those appearances came explicitly in games where everyone else was injured.
He spent the entire summer with Chelsea though we expect the plan always focused on loaning him out. Unfortunately a deal to Espanyol fell through at the last minute and the American was forced to tread the well-trodden path from South London to Vitesse in the Eredivisie.
With Chelsea having splashed a sizeable amount of cash on David Luiz at the last minute, any opportunities that might have been thrown up by his La Liga loan falling through were wiped out by the Brazilian’s return.
The time in the Netherlands has been unspectacular so far. Miazga is certainly a better player than his rivals for a starting spot in defence. The two things that have held him back are the fact that Vitesse actually started the season reasonably well, and that Matt didn’t have a full pre-season to settle in with his squad.
By the time the Eredivisie kicks off again after the winter break he should be a regular in their defence.
Having made his first two appearances for the United States men’s national team last November, the stuttering of this year means that he hasn’t added to that total in 2016. However it’s obvious that he’ll become a vital cog in their long-term future.
As for Chelsea – we’re not convinced he has an obvious future with the Blues. Kurt Zouma is on his way back to full fitness and the excellent Andreas Christensen will be back at the club this summer after two (so far) brilliant seasons in the Bundesliga.
Miazga can’t compete with that and it’s unlikely he’ll ever be good enough to challenge them. Three years on loan with a steady progression up divisions and leagues; and then a move to a solid team in one of the best leagues in Europe should stand him in good stead.
He won’t be the only Chelsea youngster not to feature much for his actual parent club.
C- Not a disaster, but needs to get back on the pitch regularly
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