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Page last updated at 13:25 GMT, Friday, 25 February 2011

Cardiff full-back Matthews signs pre-contract at Celtic

Adam Matthews
Matthews broke into the Cardiff first team in 2009

Celtic have signed Cardiff City's teenage right-back Adam Matthews on a pre-contract agreement.

The Wales under-21 international will join the Glasgow club on 1 July and has clinched a four-year deal with Celtic.

Andreas Hinkel and Mark Wilson are out of contract at the end of the season and manager Neil Lennon has moved to increase his options at full-back.

"The 19-year-old is one of the most exciting young prospects in the Championship," said the Celtic website.

"It's a real coup for the club to have secured his signing."

Matthews has been tipped as a future Wales international and Premier League star after his impressive start to his Cardiff career.

The Swansea-born defender signed for Cardiff's academy aged eight and after signing a professional contract in January 2009, Matthews made his full debut coming on as a late substitute at Blackpool in August 2009 in a 1-1 draw.

Matthews, who has received a Wales senior call but not a full cap, impressed in his rookie season attracted apparent interest from top Premier League clubs.

But an own goal in a 2-0 Championship defeat at Ipswich Town in September 2010 seemed to have a major impact on his development at Cardiff.

Ledley rates Matthews highly

And Bluebirds boss Dave Jones launched a stinging attack on the promising young full-back after Matthew converted Carlos Edwards' cross into the back of his own net to give Ipswich the lead at Portman Road.

"What's in his head? I haven't got a clue," Jones said afterwards.

"Don't load the gun and fire it for me; I can fire it myself. But some of them fired their own gun and that's not what we're about.

"I haven't got time to mollycoddle people. It's a man's world now and it's a tough old world and you've got to pick yourself up.

"But you can't legislate for where Adam's headed it and I've done that myself in my career and it's about how you bounce back.

"And he's got to bounce back quick otherwise he'll find himself dumped in the reserves and not playing football.

"He had a great opportunity and if he doesn't show a lot of character it'll be a long time before he gets it again."

Matthews has started just one game since and now has left on a free transfer but with Cardiff receiving compensation for developing the player.

"Disappointing to see that Adam Matthews will be leaving," Cardiff top-scorer Jay Bothroyd, who is also out of contract in the summer, told his Twitter site.

"He has tremendous potential."

And Matthews' former Cardiff team-mate Joe Ledley is delighted to see his fellow Welshman join his at the Old Firm giants.

"Adam Matthews is a great signing for the club," Ledley told Twitter. "He has a great future ahead of him!!"

Cardiff were told that Matthews was leaving when when Celtic "directly contacted" them on a pre-contract agreement.

Cardiff chief executive Gethin Jenkins said: "It's disappointing we couldn't agree a contract extension with Adam, especially given the length of time he has developed with us.

"As a club, it's a fact that we had offered what we felt was a competitive contract, in line with our wage structure and one which would have rewarded him as he progressed with the team.

"This was, however, rejected by Adam and his representatives."

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see also
Lennon relaxed over Celtic deal
22 Feb 11 |  Celtic
Senior duo earn Wales U21 calls
29 Oct 10 |  Welsh
Matthews relishing Wales chance
11 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Matthews faces own-goal reminders
19 Sep 10 |  Cardiff
Matthews scoops apprentice award
15 Mar 10 |  Cardiff
Matthews considers Premier move
06 Jan 10 |  Cardiff
Cardiff reject Matthews sale talk
27 Nov 09 |  Cardiff

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