Ian Maatsen is starting to make a name for himself at Turf Moor, quickly establishing himself as a key player for the new-look, post-Dyche Burnley FC. Under head coach Vincent Kompany, With third of the season gone, The Clarets are leading the Championship, with the division’s best attack and second meanest defense, having lost just once.
The 20-year-old left back has featured in 12 of their 17 games, starting 11, chipping in with a goal and an impressive four assists. While he’s already shown good success at this level on loan at Coventry City last season, he’s raised his game this season, battling at the top end of the table instead and proving that he’s ready for the next step.
And that, of course, is all part of the plan.
“I didn’t hesitate to wait in the transfer window, I said I wanted to go out on another loan. I wanted to prove during my spell that I’m ready for the next step next season, that’s why I chose Burnley. I thought the quicker I move then I can apply myself to kick on this season. It was the perfect match.”
Maatsen reportedly had a loan arranged back in the Netherlands with Feyenoord, but chose to stay in England, with a view towards playing at the top level sooner rather than later.
And while Chelsea have two fairly young and very expensive players in his position already in Ben Chilwell, 25, and Marc Cucurella, 24, the youngster is drawing inspiration (and advice) from the likes of Mason Mount, Reece James, and Conor Gallagher — Chelsea Academy grads now playing key roles in the senior first-team.
“They are like superstars now. It is good to have the experience from teammates who have been in the same situations. It shows that if you go on loan and show yourself you can be a top player.
“But, I always think realistically and don’t put too much pressure on myself. I don’t say, ‘I must be in the Chelsea squad at 21’. I do it my way to find my own way up so I don’t worry.”
One thing’s for certain, if (when?) the opportunity comes knocking, Maatsen will be there to grab it.
“My dream is to play in the Premier League. [...] Sometimes the bus only comes once and it is about whether you get on or let to drive by. I said from day one when Chelsea wanted me: ‘I wanted to take the opportunity with both hands and see where it goes’.”
-Ian Maatsen; source: Evening Standard
Good luck, young one!