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Why Rabbi Matondo Deserves Another Chance With Wales This Summer


By Jacob Maddaford

Last weekend saw an Old Firm derby to remember, a frantic 3-3 draw with a late stunner from Welsh winger Rabbi Matondo securing Rangers a vital point as they stay one point behind Celtic with a game in hand.

It was a special goal, as the Wales international cut in from the left and struck a dipping, curling shot with stunning force into the far corner of the goal.

It was the sort of strike that invites debate about the scorer. How good could Matondo become? What impact could he yet have for his country?

Starting out as a schoolboy in Cardiff, Matondo is a man who has travelled Europe to try and make a name for himself in the game – notably at Manchester City’s academy, but then having a spell with German giants Schalke, as well as playing in the Championship, then over in Belgium, and now in Scotland.

After signing for the club in 2022, Matondo said he “wanted to create memories” at Rangers, and scoring a goal such as last Sunday’s in the biggest game of their season is certainly one that will stay in the minds of fans for quite some time. As the 23-year-old called it, the equaliser was “the biggest goal of my career so far”.

Rangers manager Phillipe Clement said: “It’s something we have been working on with him and the players for a couple of months.
“I try to use examples of good players, to show my team things they can improve.”

Clement also stated he felt that Kevin De Bruyne’s goal for Manchester City against Crystal Palace the previous day was a case study for Matondo to learn from.

The winger now has four goals in his last eight matches for Rangers.

For Wales supporters, the buzz about Matondo in Glasgow begs an obvious question: should he be given more of a chance at international level?

With Wales failing to qualify for the European Championships this summer, the team are only going to be playing international friendlies at the start of June.

That gives manager Rob Page the chance to give different players the opportunity to represent their country, as they enter a new and promising era.

Matondo should certainly be one of the players to be given a chance. This season, he has scored five goals and assisted in three in just seven league starts for Rangers, that’s eight goal contributions in just 555 minutes of domestic action.

Given his pace and technical ability, you could liken him to Daniel James, a wide player who has been in fantastic form. But James is also someone Wales fans know what to expect from – as do opponents.

Matondo is more unpredictable and remains something of a mystery, having only recorded 11 caps at this stage for his country.

For a one-time rookie who was in the same academy as the likes of Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden, he really does deserve more opportunities at the highest level.

While there is competition for places out on the wings – with James and also the likes of Nathan Broadhead and Wes Burns from Ipswich, Harry Wilson and David Brooks – given Matondo’s skill and pace, he offers more of a direct option compared to those rivals.

It does make sense why his competitors have been given more of a chance than him, given Wales’ last two games were make or break for the team and Matondo’s previous inconsistent impact.

But with international friendlies offering the chance to trial different players and tactics, Matondo should really be one of those given an outing by Page this summer.

With the Nations League and World Cup qualifiers on the horizon, there is no better time to give him a chance to become one of Wales’ go-to options for the competitive matches.

The scorer of a very special goal could yet become a special talent for Wales.


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