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Rochdale's Matheson keen to remain grounded after Man United high

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By Reuters
Rochdale's Matheson keen to remain grounded after Man United high
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Carabao Cup - Third Round - Manchester United v Rochdale - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - September 25, 2019 Rochdale's Luke Matheson celebrates scoring their first goal. Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff   -   Copyright  JASON CAIRNDUFF(Reuters)

(Reuters) – Rochdale’s Luke Matheson will have little time to celebrate his first professional goal in Wednesday’s narrow League Cup defeat at Manchester United as the 16-year-old defender prepares for a psychology test in school on Thursday.

Academy graduate Matheson, who made his debut last year to become the youngest player in Rochdale’s history, cancelled out Mason Greenwood’s opener with a volley before the League One side lost the third round clash 5-3 on penalties.

“I struck it and it hit the roof of the net and my body just took over,” Matheson told a news conference.

“I sprinted to the Dale fans and did a knee slide. I thought I was going to go down the hill. It’s a special moment… most of my best mates are United fans. I’ve not turned my phone on yet. I’m dreading it.

“I would have been at school today. I’m going in tomorrow to make up for it when we have day off as I have a psychology test. I can’t wait for that. I don’t think I’ll sleep tonight.”

Having scored his first goal in his 11th match for Rochdale, Matheson is keen to keep his feet firmly on the ground despite British media reporting that United and Liverpool had shown interest in the England under-17 international.

“Football is not a guarantee,” Matheson, who collected his GCSE results last month, added.

“You never know what will happen. You could be the best player in the world but anything is possible. I want to have that back-up plan just in case.

“Rochdale and the school have been so supportive of me. I love learning, it’s what I want to do.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)