Matthew Connolly was a highly-regarded centre half with natural leadership qualities.
He joined Arsenal as an eight-year-old and proved to be comfortable in possession, powerful in the air and strong in the tackle during his time at the Club.
He was a Reserve-team captain and made his debut in the Carling Cup victory at West Brom in October 2006. He also appeared as a substitute in the 6-3 victory at Anfield in the Fifth Round of that season's competition.
In 2007 he enjoyed a successful loan spell at Bournemouth and spent the first half of the 2007/08 campaign with Colchester United where he made 16 first-team appearances and scored twice, attracting the attention of QPR who signed him that January.