Pearson ready to seize his chance in the Football League

Matt Pearson in action for England C
Matt Pearson in action for England C

Matt Pearson believes the chance to return to the Football League was too good to miss after sealing a move to Accrington Stanley.

The 21-year-old joined the League Two club on a free transfer and is heading back to the professional ranks just two years after signing for Halifax.

The combative midfielder was a fans’ favourite at the Shay, scoring six goals in 97 appearances since joining permanently from Rochdale in 2013.

But Pearson says the time is right to make the step-up.

“Things were a bit up in the air at Halifax,” he says.

“Like you do as a footballer you listen to what might be happening.

“This move cropped up and it seemed a perfect fit.

“The big thing for me was to be able to test myself at a higher level.

“That’s been my aim since I joined Halifax - to either get them up into the Football League or get there myself.

“Part-time football is great if you have a job but working and being part-time is hard work.

“So being able to go full-time again is great.”

Interest was high in Pearson, who is happy to have sealed a move to a nearby club.

“There were other clubs interested, mostly all the local ones.

“But the thing for me is I’m not having to move away from home.

it’s the same with Robbo - Barnsley’s right on his doorstep and with me, Accrington is only 40 minutes from my house.

“That was the thing that tipped it.

“If I never got the chance to go back into the Football League I would have regretted it for the rest of my life.

“I’ll be too old to play football in 20 years’ time so I’ve got to grab this chance with both hands.”

Pearson has fond memories of his time at the Shay, where he helped the club to promotion from the Conference North and nearly repeated the feat 12 months later.

“It petered out at the end of last season but I really enjoyed my time there,” he recalls.

“Getting promotion was a great feeling - everything to do with that was great.

“The first season in the Conference was something we all enjoyed.

it’s been a good two-and-a-half years and I’ve learned a hell of a lot.

“I’ve ended up playing for England as a number 10 in behind the striker!

“That shows how much things have changed.

“I’ve played right-back, centre-back, central midfield, right-winger - but if you play in every position you learn all the time.”

Pearson captained England C to a 2-1 win over the Republic of Ireland under 21s in his final appearance for the side.

He lined-up alongside Town’s James Bolton in the game and scored a superb 25-yard shot to open the scoring.

It was a fine way for Pearson to sign off as a part-time player, and he believes his spell in the non-league ranks has prepared him well for a return to the Football League.

“I think I’ve developed most as a midfielder, which is where I’ve played the most,” he says.

“I know I’m not the most technically gifted player but I’m enthusiastic and I enjoy driving the team on.

“You just learn from playing games - what to do and when to do it.

“As a player I’ve learned to play a man’s game.”