Leeds United F.C. History
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Jones: Matthew Graham (Matt)

1997-2000 (Leeds Player Details)(Player Details)

Right Midfield

Born: Llanelli: 01-09-1980

Debut: v Portsmouth (a) (substitute): 23-01-1999

5’11” 11st 5lb (2000)

Jones joined the Leeds United Academy in 1997 at the age of seventeen, having been recommended to United by former keeper Glan Letheran when he was twelve. A highly talented and skillful player he was at ease in the Leeds squad which contained many internationals and young rising stars. He and Tommy Knarvik were both given their debuts in the FA Cup tie at Portsmouth which United won 5-1 with one of their best performances, he replaced Danny Granville at half-time and played his part in the fine win. He was a member of the Leeds 1996-97 FA Youth Cup winners, which beat Crystal Palace 3-1 on aggregate in the final, with Jones scoring one of the goals. The team contained future internationals, Paul Robinson, Alan Maybury, Harry Kewell, Jonathan Woodgate, Stephen McPhail, in addition to Jones. He was also a member of the 1997-98 Pontin’s League winning team. He had already quickly won Welsh Youth honours and soon gained seven Under-Twenty-One caps. He had made his Under-Twenty-One debut on 10th October 1997 in a 0-1 loss to Belgium in Mouscron in the UEFA 1996-98 Championship Qualifiers. This was followed by six appearances in the 1998-2000 Qualifiers in the same competition, on 4th September against Italy in a 1-2 defeat at Wrexham, on 9th October 1998 in a 2-2 draw with Denmark at Odense four days later in a 0-0 draw with Belarus at Barry, 3th March 1999 in a 0-1 defeat by Switzerland at Winterthur and on 4th June 1999 in a 2-6 defeat by Italy at Paolo Mazza, a game in which Jones scored one of the Welsh goals. His seventh and final Under-Twenty-One game was on 8th October 1999 in a 0-0 draw with Switzerland at Newtown. He was still only eighteen when he had continued his natural Welsh International progression via a “B” International, when he was called up by Wales against Scotland at Cumbernaud on 24th March 1998 before winning his first full Welsh Cap as a substitute, for future Leeds loanee John Oster, in a UEFA Cup Qualifier in a 0-2 defeat by Switzerland at Wrexham on 9th October 1999. In 2000 he was voted Welsh Young Player of the Year. A couple of weeks after his debut at Portsmouth he was given his full debut in a 2-1 win at Villa Park, over Aston Villa on 17th February 1999. Still only a teenager, he was asked to adapt to sometimes unusual roles against the very highest opposition, as United struggled with injuries and indeed he was asked to play on several occasions when he was not fit himself. His Welsh International career saw him make his full debut, in tandem with Gary Speed in midfield, in Doha on 23rd February 2000 in a 1-0 win over Qatar in a Friendly. Leeds were flying high in the EPL, but he was down the pecking order as David O'Leary used David Batty, Eirik Batty and Lee Bowyer in central midfield but called on Jones to perform specialist duties such as when he man-marked Francesca Totti into insignificance in a 0-0 away draw as Leeds eliminated Roma in the UEFA Cup, and O'Leary knew he could always rely upon Jones never to let him down whenever, and whatever position, he played. He was, however, given a chance to take part in the making of football history, in his next international game on 23rd May 2000 in a 0-3 loss to Brazil in Cardiff when it was played under the sealed dome of the Millenium Stadium, not to mention a football lesson by the multi-talented opposition in front of a capacity 72,500 crowd. This was followed by another 0-3 defeat by Portugal in Chaves on 2nd June 2000, where he had the enviable task of marking Figo, who scored his side's first goal. At Leeds, Olivier Dacourt had been bought and there were fewer oppurtunities to feature in the first team. After recovering from early season injuries he was selected for the World Cup Qualifier with Belarus in Minsk on 2nd September 2000 but had to withdrawn from the Wales squad with a recurrence of the shin splints problem that blighted the final weeks of the previous season for him. He did, however, gain his fifth, and final cap while at Leeds, as a seventy-fourth minute substitute for John Hartson, in a World Cup Qualifier in a fine 0-0 draw with Poland in Warsaw on 11th October 2000, before leaving Elland Road. Leeds were ambitious and had been acquiring players with a money no object attitude, and it was in this idiom that United accepted a bid of £3.25 million by Leicester City for the talented Welshman on 13th December 2000 to offset their out of control spending. His time with the Foxes was riddled with injury but he did figure in six more games of Wales' disappointing World Cup campaign. He earned his sixth cap as a forty-sixth minute substitute for Mark Pembridge in a 2-2 draw with Armenia in Yerevan on 24th March 2001. This was followed by another disappointing draw this time 1-1 with Ukraine at the Millenium four days later, when Jones started but was replaced after fifty-five minutes by Tottenham's Simon Davies. He was again a substitute, this time as a replacement for full-back Darren Barnard of Barnsley after seventy-eight minutes of the 1-2 home defeat at the Millenium on 2nd June 2001. In another disappointment on 1st September he played the final twenty minutes of the 0-0 draw at the Millenium with Armenia as a replacement for Wolverhampton Wanderers' Carl Robinson.He was on the pitch for only six minutes as a replacement from Celtic's John Hartson as Wales went down 2-3 to Norway at the Ullevaal Stadium, Oslo on 5th September 2001. His eleventh cap came in the last of the World Cup Qualifiers as Wales beat Belarus 1-0 at the Millenium on 6th October 2001 when Jones started but was replaced by Carl Robinson after sixty-one minutes. After establishing himself in the Leicester team he sustained cruciate ligament damage in early 2002 and was out of the team for almost a year. He came back in early 2003 and fought his way back into the team and also regained his place in the Welsh team. He was a sixtieth minute substitute for Cardiff's Rhys Weston in a 2-2 draw at the Millenium in a Friendly on 12th February 2003 and his thirteenth and final cap came on 26th May 2003 at the Spartan Stadium San Jose when Wales went down 0-2 to the USA and Jones started the game at right-back, but it was a game to remember for all the wrong reasons as he had conceded a penalty from which USA scored in the forty-first minute. He was also given a yellow card which quickly turned into a red after he had handled a ball as future Leeds player Eddie Lewis tried to round him just six minutes later. In a premiership game against Liverpool at Anfield in 2003 Jones suffered a major back injury in a tackle with Gary McAllister, which resulted in a prolapsed disc in his spine . It was a career threatening injury. He was put on a free-transfer by the Foxes at the end of the 2003-04 season, but after numerous operations in a bid to recover, Jones, on specialist's advice, decided to retire in 2004 at the age of twenty-four. He had only made thirty-five appearances and scored one goal for Leicester. It was comprised by one League goal in nineteen starts and eight games from the bench, as well as four starts and two substitute appearances in the F.A. Cup and one start and one game from the bench in the League Cup. He gained thirteen full Welsh Caps, one “B” Cap and seven Under-Twenty-One, as well as Youth honours for Wales. After his retirement Jones worked within the sports media including appearances on BBC Sport, Sky Sports and John Barnes’ Soccer Night. In September 2007 Jones announced he would come out of retirement to play for Llanelli in the Welsh Premiership. He featured sporadically for Llanelli, making twenty-three League appearances and scoring one goal, in two years. He also played for them in the Welsh Cup Final and the Champions League.

League 11/120
F.A. Cup 0/20
League Cup 1/1 0
Europe 4/20