Rabbi Taking On The Bosnian Challenge With Wales

Rabbi Matondo, the Welsh whizz kid who plays for Manchester City, will happily go right, left or centre.

The right-sided speed king, who has plenty of tricks to go with his pace, was born in Liverpool and played for England at under-15 level, but switched to Wales after playing for the Cardiff City Academy.

Merton is in the Welsh under-21 squad preparing for their European Championship qualifying match against Bosnia-Herzegovina away on Friday, March 23.

Manager Robert Page has named an 18-man squad for the match being played in Zenica (2pm GMT).

Wales are fourth in group eight, two points behind second-placed Bosnia.

Manchester City paid an initial fee of £500,000 for Matondo when they signed him from Cardiff two years ago at a time when a number of Premier League clubs were keen including Manchester United and Chelsea.

“I have played right-wing, left-wing or central striker, but I’m enjoying playing right,” said 17-year-old Matondo.

Manchester City’s Rabbi Matondo, a former Cardiff City Academy player, is in the Wales under-21 squad. Pic: Getty Images.

“I wasn’t really used to it at first but now I have played there I’m starting to like it.

“I’m right footed, but I like to cut in.”

Wales have returned David Brooks to the Under-21 squad after the Sheffield United forward’s progress was slowed by a bout of glandular fever

Brooks won his first senior caps against France and Panama in November under former Wales manager Chris Coleman.

The 20-year-old turned in a man-of-the-match performance on his first start, the 1-1 draw against World Cup-bound Panama in Cardiff, and it was expected that he would become a senior regular.

But Brooks has only just returned after missing two months of the season through illness, scoring for United in his third comeback game against Burton in midweek.

Wales manager Ryan Giggs says Brooks will benefit more from playing in the Uefa Under-21 Championship qualifier in Bosnia-Herzegovina next week rather than travelling with the senior squad to Asia for the China Cup.

“I didn’t think we’d see David at under-21 level again,” said Page.

“But it makes sense not for him to travel 12 hours across all those time zones and potentially knock him backwards.

“He’s only just come back from glandular fever and it’s the sensible thing to do.

Rabbi Matondo in action for Manchester City’s under-18 team. Pic: Getty Images.

“I spoke to Chris Wilder (Sheffield United manager) and David himself. There was no disappointment.

“Sheffield United have just got him back and want him firing on full cylinders as they go for the Championship play-offs.”

Wales travel to Bosnia intent on seeking a big result after losing 4-0 against against the same opposition in November.

Swansea City have seven players in the Welsh under-21 group, while Cameron Coxe, Rhys Abbruzzese and Mark Harris are the Cardiff City players involved.

Tyler Roberts and Nathan Broadhead are ruled out by injuries.

Page, assistant manager Frankie Bunn and goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain travel with the squad, who meet up on Sunday and travel to Bosnia next Wednesday.

Uefa U21 Championship Qualifiers – remaining Welsh fixtures


Friday 23 Bosnia-Herzegovina v Wales.


Friday 7 Wales v Liechtenstein

Tuesday 11 Wales v Portugal

October 12 Romania v Wales

Tuesday 16 Wales v Switzerland

Wales results in Uefa Championship qualifying so far: Switzerland 0, Wales 3; Portugal 2, Wales 0; Liechtenstein 1, Wales 3; Wales 0, Bosnia-Herzegovina 4; Wales 0, Romania 0.

Wales squad: (18-player squad)

Luke Pilling (Tranmere Rovers, loan Warrington Town)

Owen Evans (Wigan Athletic, loan Sutton United)

Cameron Coxe (Cardiff City)

Rhys Abbruzzese (Cardiff City)

Rhys Norrington Davies (Sheffield United)

Regan Poole (Manchester United, loan Northampton Town)

Cian Harries (Swansea City)

Joe Rodon (Swansea City, loan Cheltenham Town)

Aaron Lewis (Swansea City)

Mark Harris (Cardiff City)

David Brooks (Sheffield United)

Matthew Smith (Manchester City)

Alex Babos (Derby County)

Jack Evans (Swansea City)

Joe Morrell (Bristol City, loan Cheltenham Town

George Thomas (Leicester City)

Rabbi Matondo (Manchester City)

Daniel James (Swansea City)

On standby 

Lewis Thomas (Swansea City, loan Carmarthen Town)

Aron Davies (Fulham)

Aaron Collins (Wolves)

Jordan Davies (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Tom James (Yeovil Town)

Keston Davies (Swansea City)

Liam Cullen (Swansea City)

Tom Lowery (Crewe Alexandra)

Connor Lemonheigh Evans (Bristol City , loan Torquay United)

Nine group winners qualify directly for the finals along with Italy, who are the hosts.

The four best runners-up, not counting results against the sixth-placed team, advance to a play-offs round.

Those four teams will be drawn into two ties playing home-and-away matches to determine the last two teams to play at the finals.

Uefa Under-21 Championship qualifying group

Group 8

Played Won Draw Lost For Against Goal difference Points
Romania 6 3 3 0 9 3 6 12
Bosnia and Herzegovina 5 3 0 2 14 5 9 9
Portugal 4 2 1 1 6 5 1 7
Switzerland 6 2 1 3 5 8 -3 7
Wales 5 2 1 2 6 7 -1 7
Liechtenstein 4 0 0 4 1 13 -12 0

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