Luke Matheson experienced what he described as a “dream come true” on Wednesday when the 16-year-old scored for Rochdale at Old Trafford.
The right-back netted a memorable equaliser for Dale as they held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw in the Carabao Cup third round before losing 5-3 on penalties.
Matheson had been give permission by Trinity C of E High School, where he is studying for A-Levels in history, sociology and psychology, to have the day off – and was set to head back on Thursday to take a test in the latter.
Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at the teenager.
Academy product Matheson, born in October 2002 and with home-town club Rochdale since the age of nine, was handed his senior debut in September 2018 when Bury visited the Crown Oil Arena in the EFL Trophy. That appearance, off the bench early on, saw him make history as he became, aged 15 years 336 days, the club’s youngest ever player, and he was named man of the match.
Regular action this season
Matheson made his first start in the same competition the following month before making his league debut in January, one of three substitute appearances in League One last term. This season he started Rochdale’s Carabao Cup first-round win over Bolton on August 13, got his first league start a week later against Sunderland and played in four further games before being named in the starting XI for Wednesday’s contest at Old Trafford and scoring his first goal.
Matheson, who grew up in Manchester but is a Norwich supporter like his dad, has also played international football – in February this year he made his England Under-17s debut, starting a 3-2 victory over France at the Pinatar Arena in Spain.
Less than 48 hours after that maiden league start at home against Sunderland, Matheson picked up what was an impressive set of GCSE results. He told Rochdale’s official website: “I got an A** in History, four A*s in Chemistry, Physics, Religious Education and Physical Education, 3 As in Biology, Maths and English Language, B in Spanish and C in English Literature.” Matheson says history is his favourite subject.
Another footballer who attended Matheson’s school is Watford’s former Manchester United and Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck. Also among the notable alumni is Coronation Street actor Tina O’Brien.