Matt Grimes has again shown Swansea City fans why he’s such a good leader, but will the Premier League come calling in the summer?
For a small, 5’8 central midfielder who’s not particularity strong nor quick, Grimes is as good a leader as Swansea fans have seen. The 24-y/o has played in every one of Swansea’s 37 Championship games this season and has again, in his second full and proper season at the club, proved to be worthy of the armband.
He joined the club in January 2015 from Exeter City, having progressed through their famed youth academy. It took him a few seasons to breakthrough at Swansea though – he sought loan experience with the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Leeds United and Northampton Town in the 2017/18 season, where he played 44 times in the league, and set himself up to break into then Graham Potter’s Swansea City first-team.
Since then, neither fans nor Grimes have looked back. It’s hard to imagine a Swansea side without Grimes in the midst of it now. Steve Cooper’s summer appointment brought a new lease of life to the club and throughout their emphatic start to the campaign – which saw them win seven of their opening eight in all competitions – Grimes was more than influential.
But Swansea’s form has been contested since, and today they find themselves in 11th-place of the Championship table – still only three points outside the top-six. Few expected Swansea to challenging as high up as they are at this stage of the campaign, and few expected Grimes to mature so much as a player – over the past few weeks especially, he’s looked every bit a Premier League footballer.
He’s long been slight in stature, but he’s evidently bulked up some, and he’s been competing with the most hardened of Championship midfielders this season. Cooper likes to play a 4-2-3-1 formation most of the time and that suits Grimes, and indeed his teammates – it allows for the attacking likes of Andre Ayew, Conor Gallagher and Rhian Brewster enough space to operate, and Grimes likewise further back down the field.
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Fans get exactly what they should come to expect from a captain – Grimes is the most-rounded midfielder that Swansea have had for a long time, with his range of passing ability, his lust for tackles and the sheer amount of ground he covers each game, the only thing missing has been a couple of goals here and there.
Grimes has only scored the one league goal for Swansea since joining, but fans won’t care about that. Cooper has amassed a fine attacking side on their day and it takes the pressure off of players like Grimes, who prefer to sit back and dictate the game. Which is exactly what he does. In the last outing – a 0-0 home draw to West Brom which threw them off the top-spot in the Championship – Grimes was the best player on the pitch, he commanded the midfield, and held his own against a strong team and midfield in West Brom.
The Premier League is bound to come calling one day. Grimes has clear ability and at 24-years-old, he’s still got his best years ahead of him – this coming summer could be a decisive one in his career trajectory.