NEW Sheffield Wednesday signing Joe Mattock says he has matured since an incident which almost saw him receive a custodial sentence.
Mattock, now aged 22, was handed 10 months’ detention, suspended for two years, for pleading guilty to affray in a Leicester nightclub in 2010.
He was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, and to pay £1,500 costs.
It is a time in his life that he’d prefer to put behind him, but the left-back spoke to The Star about how the experience had made him a stronger person.
“It’s something I’ve tried to forget. It’s one of those things that I wished had never happened and looking back it could have been avoided,” he said.
“Now I don’t think about it. People who have known me for a long time know that isn’t what I’m about. I’m not a person who does something like that.”
Mattock, the court was told, lashed out after he was given “grief” over a transfer from Leicester to West Brom. He ended up punching two men and two women.
Mattock accepted he would have to live with the consequences. He faced up to his punishment and believes that it has made him appreciate the talent that he has.
“It’s made me want to work even harder to prove myself,” he said. “I give that bit more effort to show what I’m really like. I’ve matured since that day.”
He joins Wednesday, from West Brom, at a time when the club is on the up.
His meeting with his agent and Owls manager Dave Jones at a golf club in the north-west to discuss his move to Hillsborough clearly impressed him.
And he says: “I’m a very hard-working player who likes to get forward,” he said.
“I have improved defensively and I’ve put a lot of effort into that side of my game. But I’m definitely an attacking full-back.”
Jones will hope that Mattock, a former Sheffield United loanee, is making headlines for his work on the pitch.
He spoke at the end of last season about how he seems to attract, and get the best out, players with troubled histories.
But he denies his experience as a care worker before moving back into football has helped him deal with the more boistrous side of a footballer’s nature.
He told The Star: “I just treat them with respect.”
Wednesday have been drawn away at League One Oldham in the first round of the Capital One Cup Cup. Ties will be played week commencing August 13.