Matty Grimes keeping grounded after 'crazy' year

Sunday 05 Apr 2015
Matty Grimes captained England Under-20s to victory against USA

In September 2014 Matty Grimes was uncapped and playing in League Two, but seven months can be a long time in football.

On Saturday he made his Premier League debut for Swansea City against Hull City, in the same week he became an England captain. 

And the young midfielder says his experiences since Under-20s boss Aidy Boothroyd handed him his first call-up have helped him make the step up.

Matty Grimes made his England debut for the Under-20s in September 2014

Grimes said: “We’ve got a great a bunch of lads, and obviously the talent and the quality is very high," he said. 

“Players like Chuba [Akpom], Callum [Robinson] and Harrison [Reed] have already played in the Premier League. 

“Lewis Baker at Chelsea is also another one that is clearly an outstanding talent. 

"So the standard is really high, and pegging myself against that type of player has helped me enormously.

“It’s helped me see what I’m like in relation to the best young players in the country. 

“It’s been good for me personally to see that I can play at the same level as them, and hopefully I’ve shown over the last couple of trips that I can.”

Matty Grimes played 48 games games for Exeter City before moving to Swansea

Indeed Grimes has impressed on those trips. He has been an ever-present in each of Boothroyd’s three squads so far this season.

Having only missed three of the eight games during those meet-ups, largely due to squad rotation, the 19-year-old has done so well he was handed the armband for the recent 2-1 victory against USA in Plymouth.

It was a moment he says he will never forget, despite the location being a place that holds mixed memories for the lifelong Exeter fan.

“Aidy told me a couple of days before the game that I would be captain,” he recalled. 

“Obviously it was a very proud moment for me, and I told my mum and dad as soon as I knew. It was a great way to end the week.

Matty Grimes with his new team-mates at Swansea City

“Being at Home Park was a bit of a strange one though. I wasn’t used to having the home fans behind me!

“I lived in Exeter all my life, all my family are from Exeter and I followed the team from the age of ten. I’m about as Exeter as you can get.

He continued: “But six months ago if you had told me I would be captaining the U20s I wouldn’t have believed it for a moment. 

“It’s been a crazy six months, a crazy season to be honest. I just need to keep head down now and keep working hard.”

Grimes made the switch from Exeter to the Swans in January 2015. 

He has had to bide his time while waiting for his debut.

“I just have to keep working hard and maybe I’ll get more chances at Swansea before the end of the season”

Matty Grimes 

Eventually it arrived as he replaced Jonjo Shelvey for the final few minutes of the Swans' 3-1 win over Hull.

However, that delayed start to his top-flight career was not a situation that he was overly concerned with. 

He believes he is still way ahead of schedule in terms of career progress, and said that if he applies himself with assiduity, he he will get more chances.

“I’m not really looking too far ahead at the moment,” he added. “I know I just have to keep working hard and maybe I’ll get more chances at Swansea before the end of the season.

“When I first went I didn’t expect to be in it [the first team] at all, so it’s positive that I’ve been on the bench with them already. 

"I’ve also been travelling with the first team squad to away games. 

“So it’s good that I’m in and around it, but now that I’ve settled I really feel like I need to kick on.

“I feel like I’ve found my feet at the club now and I feel like I really have to start putting my stamp on training and then hopefully when I get chances I’ll take them.”

By Jamie Reid Senior Writer