Matthew Bondswell: Things to Know About the Emerging English Defender

With a surprising golden generation of English players emerging in recent years, there was always likely to be a few who went under the radar.

18-year-old left-back Matthew Bondswell is one of them.

One of a number of English players to head to the Bundesliga in search of a fast-track to first-team game time, the RB Leipzig man was sent on loan to the Netherlands in the summer.

His performances for second-tier FC Dordrecht have been so impressive that the young defender has been linked with a move to Premier League sides Chelsea and West Ham.

Here’s everything you need to know about Bondswell…

Bondswell is a Nottingham Forest academy graduate, following in the footsteps of the likes of Michael Dawson, Jermaine Jenas, Matty Cash, Marlon Harewood and Premier League winner Wes Morgan.

He joined the club aged eight and spent eight years at the club before moving to Germany to pursue regular football and a new footballing education.

After leaving Nottingham Forest in 2018 Bondswell signed for Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, who have a fantastic reputation for bringing through young players.

He joined up with the Leipzig academy and spent two years with the youth teams before going out on loan this season to the Dutch Eerste Divisie.

Reda Khadra, Matthew BondswellReda Khadra, Matthew Bondswell
Bondswell in action for Leipzig youth team | TF-Images/Getty Images

An explosive left-back, Bondswell is a modern full-back who is excellent going forward but defensively needs work.

Currently he relies a lot on his pace, whether it’s offensively or defensively, and Leipzig are hopeful that his loan move will help him improve positionally before returning to the Bundesliga next summer.

In another world, the 18-year-old could have swapped studs for spikes after representing Nottinghamshire in athletics events.

Bondswell won a silver medal in the triple jump at the English Schools Track and Field Championships in the summer of 2017 and took gold in the same discipline at country and schools level. He also represented Nottinghamshire schools in the 200m sprint event too.

While coming through the Nottingham Forest academy, Bondswell was linked to a lot of top Premier League clubs.

The likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham were touted but it was Manchester United who were most heavily speculated as a possible destination for a professional contract.

As it turned out, he rejected the offer of the Old Trafford side and his beloved Forest to follow in the path of Jadon Sancho by moving to the Bundesliga.

Highly-rated throughout his time in Nottingham Forest’s academy, he has been representing England since the ripe old age of 14. He was even part of the England Under-17 squad that won the Syrenka Cup in 2019 by beating Poland on penalties.

He didn’t feature in the final of that but was part of the travelling party along with the likes of Harvey Elliot, Jude Bellingham and Jamal Musiala.