Steps up: Matson on his 'lovely’ season at Burnley | News | Official site

It’s been quite a 2022/23 for Ian Matson, who won team and individual honors during his loan spell with Burnley in the Championship. The young left-back reflects on an illustrious campaign and looks forward to the next step in his career…

When Ian Matsen set out to start his loan spell at Burnley at the start of the season, he did so with high expectations of what he could achieve at Turf Moor. Even he could not have known how much success he would enjoy there.

From scoring the winning goal on his debut against Huddersfield Town to a solid defensive display, he was a central figure for the Clarets. Storm the Championship to return to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Matsen made 42 appearances in all competitions and recorded 10 goal involvements in the league – four goals and six assists – from left-back. However, that only tells part of the story, he won his first senior trophy when Burnley won the title in a fiery atmosphere against fierce local rivals Blackburn Rovers. On the championship team of the season.

Now recovering from the toil of a long but successful campaign, not to mention the joyous title celebrations at Burnley that followed, the 21-year-old Dutchman certainly had plenty to look back on.

Firstly Ian, congratulations on such a successful season at Burnley. How do you see your campaign overall?

’Yes, I think this season has been a really great season, but a beautiful season. Vincent Kompany was very excited to be the manager of an English team. When I first went there it was a family feeling. We worked hard with each other and got to know each other more and more on and off the pitch, so it was a really beautiful season for me with a lot of experiences and happiness. I really couldn’t have been more hopeful and I’m hoping that whatever the next season is going to hold for me, it’s going to be the same.

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It seems like there is a lot of pressure on the team to get the job done as you get promotion and the title at the end of the season. How did you handle it?

’I wouldn’t say it’s hard, but „Are we going to do it today?” It was as if people were asking. The gaffer told us it was nice to win trophies, but even if we were champions at Blackburn or promoted at Middlesbrough, we had to play like the first game we played against Huddersfield. The start of the season – nothing has changed from that game until now, so make sure we do everything the same way we’ve done it all season.

’For a short while we changed something in the game, that’s normal, but we learned from it and treated the next games like we always do from start to finish. That helped us a lot, we said to each other in the dressing room “guys we are going for it, no one is going to take it from us” and it went well. We’ve got the rewards for that, we’re champions, so that’s great.

„This is my first trophy at the senior level. I won many times when I was young, but this is very special because as a boy, you dream of being a champion. The stadium was full, people were screaming our name, we were on the bus with the trophy and we saw all the Burnley fans in town shouting and clapping for us. I will never forget that moment, so it was really cool.

The Lancashire derby clinched the title with a win over Blackburn Rovers, which was also a perfect finish.

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’Obviously it’s a derby but I didn’t know they were rivals at the start of the season! But you can see the day, the day before, the way we prepared and the way people prepared around the two cities. First to win the derby was amazing, then to become the champion was even better. So it was a beautiful experience.

Talking about pressure, in that game, playing in a local derby with the trophy must have been huge. Was it hard to focus?

For me personally, I started the game relaxed. Of course it’s a derby, it’s a good situation, but I told myself I have to perform well, do the things I’ve always done and see where it goes. So I was very relaxed, but I was motivated to give a good performance.

’And I wanted to surround my teammates with the same spirit, because we have to play with confidence, know what we are capable of and give each other confidence. I tried serving it to the boys and it was really good.

It’s for performances like this that you’ve been named to the Championship Team of the Year. Does it feel like an important moment because you’re being recognized for your talent, rather than your age, like the Young Player of the Month award you received during the season?

’Yes, it was something I wanted to win when I came to Burnley. When I told the coach at the beginning, he told me that every day, even in the worst moments against better teams than us, I have to show my qualities in the best games, and that was an achievement for me. I was very proud of myself when I heard the news. I can show people that I’m good at playing consistently and doing the same habits that I have from the beginning to the end of the season.

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’My medals and awards have a nice place in my house with my football boots and everything. I always wake up in the morning and look at it and say „wow”. When my friends and my family come around they look at it and say, „You’ve come so far, but this is the beginning of a good life.”

What do you think is the most important thing you took away from your time at Burnley?

’I would say to grow as a player and as a person, to work hard and be consistent, but to learn from other coaches and my team-mates and people around the club. So in general I think I’ve learned a lot of things within football, but also outside, to be a man, to dream and work hard for that every day. In the worst moments, when things go a little bit out of your way, just do it and don’t panic about anything. Try to be the best version of yourself every day.’

After such a successful season, did you find it easier or harder to hit reset and shift your focus to the next one?

’I think both ways. I have time to enjoy the success and relax, but I can’t sit at home, so I’m always busy training or doing things. So I’m preparing myself for the next step, to be ready for anything that comes my way.

We’ve also got the Under-21 Euros with the national team this year, so I’m preparing for that as well. It’s great to play football for your country and I’ll come to Cobham more prepared and that’s good.

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