Matt Grimes: 'We can go blow-to-blow with League Two's best'

Monday 29 Sep 2014
Grimes made his England U20 debut earlier this month
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Matt Grimes says his in-form Exeter City side have shown they can go “blow-to-blow” with the best League Two has to offer.

The 19-year-old made his England debut earlier this month when he came off the bench to help Aidy Boothroyd’s U20s defeat Romania 6-0 at Telford.

The form that led to his international bow has continued upon his return to St James Park, and the Grecians won their third straight game at the expense of Bury on Saturday – leaving only Southend United (four straight wins) in a richer vein of league form.

Grimes, who scored a free-kick in 2-1 win over Bury at the weekend, has played in each game of their recent winning run, which included triumphs over Cambridge United and Tranmere Rovers, and he is looking to maintain the high standard set.

“We’ve strung a couple of good performances and wins together now, and we hope to keep improving and keeping our standards high and see where it takes us,” Grimes told ExeterCityFC.co.uk.

Grimes for Exeter City

Matt Grimes has scored three goals for the Grecians - all from free-kicks

“No game is the same – you have to adapt to playing different teams. Bury were a very passing team that kept it on the deck and played through us well at times. We rode it out and when we could attack we kept the ball well, and it was a good end to the game.

He added: “I’d say Bury were the best we’ve played so far – they were the best at keeping the ball and passing it on the deck and passing through teams, and I thought they were fantastic at times.

“But we matched them and you saw that we can go blow-to-blow with even the best in this league.”

Grimes opened the scoring with his set-piece effort inside the opening five minutes against Bury. His rasping strike was his second of the current campaign and third in his career – and remarkably all three have come direct from a set-piece.

“I’ve been practising free-kicks all week with Mel [Gwinnett],” he explained. “I didn’t actually practice that particular one to go over the wall and into the open side, but it was about practising the technique and getting the muscle memory on it, and that helped out.

“Me and Alex [Nicholls] were having a little chat and he decided it was too close for him to go over the wall, and then the ‘keeper was probably thinking I was going to go around the wall, but thankfully I’ve outfoxed him and went the other side.”

Exeter City goalkeeper Christy Pym

Christy Pym was man of the match for Exeter on Saturday

Goalkeeper and fellow U20 international colleague Christy Pym also attracted the headlines with his performance for the Grecians. The shot-stopper had to undergo lengthy treatment to get a nasty looking head injury sewn up after being caught by Shakers forward Ryan Lowe, but he went on to claim the man of the match award.

“Christy was class,” Grimes said. “He really did make a good couple of saves and his kicking was fantastic.

“To be honest I don’t think the head injury really fazed him!  He’s got a couple of stitches in now and he looks a bit banged up, but nothing that time won’t heal.”

Over the course of September, and since returning from England U20 duty, Grimes has been one of Exeter’s outstanding performers, and he believes the “confident boost” of representing the Young Lions has had an effect on his game.

“I feel like I had a slow start to the season and that I wasn’t at my best for the first couple of games,” explained Matt.

“But whether the England experience had an impact on me, which I’m sure it did, it gave me a real confidence boost.

“After that I’ve felt like I’ve got my performance levels back up where I want them to be and that’s where I hope to keep them.”

Both Grimes and Pym will be hoping their form in League Two will be enough to secure them a spot in Boothroyd’s squad for their next match against Germany in Holland on Thursday 9 October.

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer