As is so often the case with talented young English players, the rumour mill has begun to gather momentum about potential big-money bids for Wolves winger Matt Jarvis this summer from the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Aston Villa.
And what a rise to prominence it has been for the recent England cap. Only four seasons ago, Jarvis was playing in English football’s third tier for an underperforming Gillingham side who finished sixteenth in League One. However, his efforts were not unnoticed as he made the League One Team of the Year at the age of twenty. And, with his contract up at the end of the season, fellow League One team Nottingham Forest were the first to chase his signature. But, rather than remain in League One, Jarvis chose to move up a division with Wolves in the summer of 2007.
Fast-forward to today and Jarvis has had two successful seasons in English football’s top flight and, following his inclusion in the England squad to face Wales, made his international debut later in the week against Ghana. But, following his most successful season in a Wolves shirt to date with five goals to his name, what next for the young attacker?
Firstly Wolves are far from the safety of the magical 40-point mark and their Premier League status is still to be saved. It must be difficult for any young player to concentrate on his football with regular rumours about moves to bigger clubs surfacing. But, first and foremost, he must show maturity in ignoring these rumours and concentrate on playing good football and keeping Wolves up. A relegation battle can do wonders for a player’s profile and, come the close-season, Jarvis and potential suitors will be in a much better position to judge.
If Wolves are relegated surely he will look to move on. Whilst it has been refreshing to see England manager Fabio Capello’s willingness to call upon players from the lower leagues, Jarvis must owe it to his career to stay in the top flight. Instead, the real dilemma is likely to come if Wolves manage to stay up and play a third consecutive season in the Premier League.
Jarvis has flourished under Mick McCarthy and, in signing a new contract in September of last year, clearly enjoys playing for the club. But, following a strong couple of seasons recently capped with an England appearance, in order to maintain this progress he would be wise to take the step up to a bigger club.
Whilst he would not start every game at somewhere like Manchester United, he would have a fantastic opportunity to learn from one of the best left-sided wingers to have graced the Premiership in Ryan Giggs. A transfer to a resurgent Liverpool could also boost his development, although at this stage with the uncertainty as to who will be managing the club next year, he would do well to bide his time. Another club more recently linked with Jarvis has been midland rivals Aston Villa. With fellow England winger Ashley Young apparently set on leaving, he would be a great replacement. But, Villa are a confused club themselves following Martin O’Neill’s departure and their Premiership status is also still to be confirmed.
Jarvis will certainly have many suitors this Summer whether Wolves stay up or not. But, it is up to him to choose whether he continues his rise under Mick McCarthy or indeed chases glory elsewhere. He made the correct choice in joining Wolves and I hope, for the sake of England, he will make the right decision this Summer. But, he must remember that every team is different and that for every Adam Johnson, there is also a Shaun Wright-Phillips.