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Banished by Nantes, Chelsea loanee Matt Miazga isn’t giving up

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He’s a mature 23 year-old who has the fight to win his place back

Vitesse v OGC Nice - UEFA Europa League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Matt Miazga would like you to know that reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Banished to the reserves in Nantes since new coach Vahid Halilhodžić witnessed a rotten performance against Girondins de Bordeaux in early October, there was speculation that his loan spell would be cut short in January.

Miazga isn’t having any of it.

Training with USA at Brentford ahead of a friendly clash with England on Thursday, he dismissed talk that he was on his way out of the French club.

“You know, you go from playing every game to not playing and people are going to write things and assume things. One’s going to say this, one’s going to say that, but it doesn’t really matter to me. They can say what they want, the main focus for me is Nantes right now and to earn back my spot at Nantes.”

Miazga had previously enjoyed a successful eighteen-month spell on loan to Vitesse and, despite only making two appearances for Chelsea since coming over from New York Red Bulls in January of 2016 for $5m, had seemingly been on an upward trajectory in Chelsea’s loan army.

That has been derailed this season. But Miazga is keeping a good attitude about his current trouble.

“Obviously I’m at Nantes now until the end of the season. So my main focus is to give it all for that club, obviously earn my starting spot back again in training and go from there. Right now my main focus is here with the national team, take it day-by-day and control what I can control. And that’s to work hard and give it my all, and the rest will take care of itself.”

He hasn’t given up on his goal of playing for Chelsea, either. England is where he wants to be. He had a brief taste of it before Guus Hiddink yanked him off at halftime against Swansea in April of 2016, which was the last time he wore a Blue shirt.

“The Premier League is the best league in the world. So it was always a goal of mine to be here and come here. And I did and now hopefully in the future, we’ll see what it holds. And I can come back, so I’m excited to be here.”

A strong header of the ball with a taste for goals (he almost scored twice in that fateful match against Bordeaux as Nantes tried to come back), Miazga has tried to model his game on players he admires most. Naturally, that includes the best centre-back in Chelsea’s history.

“I would say obviously John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, top central defenders like that. I’ve always watched and tried to learn from them, and see, little bits of their game and try to implement them in mine. So I am constantly growing, constantly learning and constantly developing.”

-Matt Miazga; source: Goal

At 23 years old, he’s still young for his position and he understands that he’s a long way from being the finished product. His maturity in dealing with his difficult situation comes through again in the interview.

It’s hard not to root for a player who obviously has his head in the right place. It’s tempting to see him as a bit of a scapegoat as Halilhodžić tries to pull Nantes out of their poor start.

There are six and a half months left in the Ligue 1 season. If Miazga can survive the January window, he may have enough time to once again establish himself as a starter and get his season (and his career) back on track.