After two months of being derided as just another frivolous Emenalo-special, young Matt Miazga was given his debut / was pressed into service last weekend against Aston Villa. It turned out, much to our delight, that the kid had some ability after all, and while Villa are quite easily the worst team in the league, Miazga's debut was still widely praised on both sides of the Atlantic.
Miazga himself was happy as well, of course, but in all his post-match comments, he was immediately talking about continuing to work hard and earning more opportunities. Expected, yes, but also welcome words. He did so again when quizzed by the Telegraph yesterday.
"I was very happy to make my debut for Chelsea and was thrilled that I was able to be part of the three points and contribute, now I look forward to working hard in training to get more opportunities and establish myself as a player."
"It was a great experience and I got my feet under the ground and I look forward to build on it. There were no celebrations though, you've got to get ready for the next day and recover. Family and friends called me so that was great. Jürgen Klinsmann gave me a text and coaches from the Red Bulls academy also got in touch to congratulate me."
Klinsmann apparently has indicated that Miazga is in contention for a spot on the US Men's National Team for the Copa America Centenario this summer. The 20-year-old didn't exactly have a great couple games against Colombia for the USA U23 side during the last international break, but with some proper game time at Chelsea, he probably has a good chance of making the cut.
"It was a good experience to be part of important games for your country, unfortunately that's football you've got to move on and try to bounce back and get ready for the next opportunities. As soon as you lose a game, you want to play as soon as possible. You've got to learn from it, know the sting it gives you and try to make sure you don't get that sting again."
"It's a goal my mine to make the [Copa America] roster. Any time the national team has a window or a tournament you want to be part of it."
Miazga, who revealed that he sang "Sorry" by Justin Bieber as his initiation song and confirmed that Conte did stop by Cobham for a quick visit earlier this week, is keeping his focus firmly on football to achieve this goal.
"It's been great. You have world class players here, very experienced, played in big games, it's good to see their level and they help you raise your level to play alongside them. It's been a good transition for me."
"I focus on soccer, sorry, football and that's about it. I live very close to central London. I've been to my fair share of restaurants, I try to go to a new one all the time."
-Matt Miazga; source: Telegraph
Miazga certainly comes across as a mature, professional young man. While a good debut is hardly any guarantee of success at Chelsea (see: Kalas, Tomáš for a prime example), with a new coach coming in and the squad in the midst of yet another transition, perhaps Miazga can in fact establish himself at Chelsea.