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Keri Matthews targeting big week

15 November 2019

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Sheffield United Women winger Keri Matthews admits she's learned a lot during her time at the club since joining in the summer.

While more experienced players arrived in the summer with more experience of both the FA Women's Championship and the FA Women's Super League, 16-year-old Matthews arrived straight out of York City's Regional Talent Centre after representing England at the Under 17 European Championships in May.

Matthews' fledgling talent has ensured she's been a regular first team player under Carla Ward despite her age and the winger says she's constantly learning as she adapts day-by-day to first team football.

"It's been really exciting," she said. "There's a lot of older players here and therefore a lot to learn but also a lot I can take in and that's been really good, I've really been able to learn a lot from them so far this season."

Matthews is playing in an attacking squad which includes three of the top scorers in the Championship so far this season.

Last season's club golden boot winner Jade Pennock along with fellow new signings Katie Wilkinson and Olivia Fergusson all have vast experience in the leagues and have 22 goals between them so far this season, meaning Matthews couldn't find many better as mentors within the division.

"I just watch them! They're obviously a lot more experienced than me, they have a lot more years of playing than me so I just watch what they do and try to absorb what they do. Their movements, their runs, just how they play and what they do with their game."

It's mark of her talent that despite being 16 in a competitive squad sitting third in the league, Matthews has made seven appearances so far this season with four of them coming in the Championship.

The winger started the first game of the season away at Aston Villa and admits she didn't expect to be involved so much, so early.

"I just thought I'd be training so I was really surprised. I'm really pleased to have been involved so much but I'm just going to keep working and see what happens.

"As much as it has been daunting at times, it's been really good for me. I'm still inexperienced but I'm learning every day. It was a tough decision to come out of the RTC because I didn't know if I still wanted to be playing with people my own age or go into an open-age group but coming here I've learned so much and that's really benefited me."

Matthews is also honest about where she needs to improve and has a calm head on young shoulders, but credits both Ward and assistant Tom Fitton for demanding "high standards" from everyone.

"It's been really good. I know I need to improve my confidence in one vs one situations and my directness in play, but it's been really enjoyable."

With a busy week ahead which sees the Blades face three games in seven days, starting with a trip to Lewes on Sunday, Matthews will be hoping to play a big part but is learning on the job given this is her first season in the league.

"The only reference I have is video analysis and listening to what the girls say about who we're playing but I'm really enjoying that side of it, I'm learning a lot all the time."

Like everyone else though, Matthews is looking for a big three points to kickstart a week which sees a trip to Durham in the Continental Cup on Thursday night before another meeting with the same opponents in the league next Sunday.

"Anything can happen in this league. We want to be up there and if we can it would be amazing, but we have to take it game at a time. You can't do anything else because if you do you lose focus on what you're trying to do."

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