Collins turns pro

Monday 7 April 2003

Academy midfielder Matthew Collins has joined the ever-growing list of young players who have made the transition for scholar to professional at Fulham FC. Collins signed his professional contract late last week after showing a great deal of promise at Academy level.

Speaking to Fulham Today on Monday morning, Academy Director Steve Kean told us a bit more about the Wales under-17 Captain.

"If the fans wanted somebody to compare him to I'd say he's a player in the John Collins mould," he explained. "If you had seen John as a young player, you'd immediately be able to spot the similarities.

"Our scouts flagged him up when he was sixteen playing with Swindon; we thought he had all the right attributes we were looking for, so we brought him in.

"He found it a bit difficult living away from home at first but that naturally takes time to get used to. He's now settled in at the Club and has done really well at international level. He's the Captain of the Welsh under-17s and has been called-up on a few occasions to play for their under-19s."

So what are the immediate plans for Collins next season? Having already made some appearances for the under-19 side, the next step would be to cement his place in the under-19s before moving up to the reserve team.

"We've got an abundance of central midfield players," said Kean. "John Collins hasn't been involved in many first team matches this season so he's had to play in the majority of reserve games in case he was needed for the first team.

"His presence in the reserve team meant there was one less space available. I don't know what the situation is going to be with John next season. If he decides to retire or move on - then another midfield place would become available and hopefully we might even be able to go like for like by introducing Matthew."