Jay Matete | First Interview
It was quite the unorthodox arrival for Jay Matete as an Argyle player.
Instead of the journey to Plymouth, either taking in the South Devon coast on the train or seeing Dartmoor loom up alongside the A38, Matete left Sunderland early on a Friday afternoon, crossing the north of England to arrive at Argyle’s overnight halt in Greater Manchester, ahead of Saturday’s game against Bolton Wanderers.
Matete, a 21-year-old midfielder, had signed a deal to join Argyle on loan for the rest of the season before leaving Wearside, and upon arrival at the team hotel, got his new togs, met the management team, then fell into the hands of the club media team for the obligatory photos, reveals and interviews.
“I’m delighted to be here,” he said, to Argyle TV. “When the interest came about, it was something that grabbed my attention.
“It’s a quick turnaround, meeting at the hotel and a game tomorrow, but it’s a big game and I’m looking forward to it.”
Matete broke through at Fleetwood Town, having a loan spell at Grimsby Town in Sky Bet League Two before returning to the North West to establish himself for Fleetwood in League One.
Last season, his form for the Cod Army attracted the attention of fellow League One side Sunderland, whom Jay joined in January 2022.
Matete assisted the Black Cats to promotion via the League One play-offs, and played nine games this season – all away from home, curiously – before becoming a Pilgrim.
“I’ve had a loan before; I went to Grimsby,” he said. “That really helped, I played a lot of games. The transition from Under-23s football to men’s football is totally different.
“It has gone quick, going from League Two to League One to the Championship. You can feel the different levels, but it’s all good experiences. The gametime I have got [in the Championship] I have enjoyed it. It’s different, it’s quicker.”
Three of Jay’s 41 games during 2021/22 were against Argyle, and all were draws. Fleetwood drew 1-1 at Home Park before a 3-3 draw at Highbury Stadium, before Jay returned to PL2 with Sunderland, and 0-0 draw near the end of the season.
It is clear that in those games, Argyle’s style of football made an impression, as did the club’s fantastic following.
Now, Matete wants to give the Green Army a day like he experienced with Sunderland last season.
“[Argyle are] always a tough team to play against, play good football,” said Jay. “I remember playing at [Home Park] the atmosphere was really, really good. I enjoyed it. It was one of the reasons I came because you’ve got a good fanbase.
“You have had a really good season so far, and it is something I wanted to be a part of. Hopefully I can help a real promotion push and help you to the Championship.
“I know what a great feeling it is to get promoted, doing it last year. It is something the fans will remember forever. Hopefully we can give them this memory.”