Wolverhampton Wanderers signed Rochdale full-back Luke Matheson on deadline day for a fee in the region of £1m.
To the uninitiated, this may seem like a lot of money for a player who has only ever turned out for a side in the English third-tier, yet it could turn out to be one of the best pieces of business done this January.
The phrase ‘wonderkid’ is used far too often in football but if there was a young man outside the top two tiers of English football who deserves that title it is surely Matheson.
Who is Luke Matheson? Three things Wolves fans need to know…
- Age: 17
- Position: Right-back
- Did you know? He is Rochdale’s youngest-ever player, having made his debut against Bury in 2018 at the age of just 15 years and 336 days. Matheson was only 16 years old when he scored for Dale at Old Trafford in the League Cup this season.
When you score against Manchester United at Old Trafford as a 16-year-old, for the Club you've been with since the age of nine 👏💙
— Rochdale AFC (@officiallydale) September 26, 2019
Matheson is not only an exciting prospect on the pitch but is also said to be a level-headed youngster off it. He is grounded and his EFL experience will put him in good stead going forward in his career.
Congratulations to @Luke_Matheson41 on passing his driving test today! 🚗👏
Well done Luke! 💙🙌 pic.twitter.com/EsSo6MZ8Jd
— Rochdale AFC (@officiallydale) January 30, 2020
Wolves clearly understand the benefit of their new starlet playing regularly in League One after agreeing to allow him to remain at Rochdale until the end of the current season.
Matheson has predominantly been utilised at right-back in a four-man defence for Rochdale but Wolves’ sporting director Kevin Thelwell is confident that he can adapt to play as a wing-back in Nuno Espirito Santo’s favoured 3-4-3 formation.
“The system we play, it’s set up for him,” Thelwell said. “He plays at right-back for Rochdale at the moment, but he’s a right wing-back in our eyes because of his energy and ability to continually sprint and recover.
“At 17, for a boy to have so much experience, be English and have such a strong mentality is fantastic and we think he’s everything we’re about.
“He’s playing so often at Rochdale, so we’re sending him back there on loan, to continue to get experience and that should hopefully give him more game time.
“Then he’ll come back to us for the start of pre-season in the summer. It’s great for all of us to get him in the building, we’re really excited and we think he’s going to be a top talent.”