High-flying Adam Matthews keeps feet on the ground

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THERE could be plenty to turn his head if Adam Matthews was easily distracted. Liverpool are the latest English Premier League club reported to be considering a January bid for the 19-year-old full-back who was watched by Kenny Dalglish in Celtic’s midweek defeat by Atletico Madrid.

Liverpool are said to have joined Fulham and Everton as admirers of the teenager, who joined Celtic under freedom of contract six months ago – and who, in a month’s time, will have 24-year-old Swedish internationalist Mikael Lustig as a rival for the right-back berth at Parkhead. None of that seems to leave Matthews jumpy. Indeed, the fact the Welsh international “doesn’t get emotional on the pitch” is one of the keys to his “meteoric” progress from squad player to one “I can hang my hat on”, according Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Matthews wants that to continue when Lustig arrives. “I have heard he’s a good attacking full-back so it’ll be a good challenge and I am looking forward to it. It is good to have played in both sides [at full-back] but I want to keep right-back,” said Matthews. “I haven’t heard anything about any other clubs. I think it’s just paper talk but obviously it is flattering to get interest from the [English] Premier League. But Celtic are massive club, and I’m happy to stay here.”

Matthews is still reeling from the death of his international manager Gary Speed, who he credits with a crucial role in his development: “He was a great man and a great player and a great role model to me. He gave me my first cap, against Scotland in the Carling Nations Cup in May, so it is extra sad for me. He gave me confidence and he made me a better player. I am thankful to him and obviously very sad and going to miss him very much.”