Ex-Man City winger confident of emulating Sancho in Bundesliga
Wales winger Rabbi Matondo is confident he can emulate Jadon Sancho and be a Bundesliga hit like his former Manchester City team-mate.
Matondo made the same move as Sancho in January when he swapped City for Germany, joining Schalke in an £11million move.
England teenager Sancho has taken the Bundesliga by storm since joining Borussia Dortmund in August 2017, scoring 16 goals in 55 appearances.
Matondo has yet to make the same sort of impact during his brief time in Germany, but he did score his first Schalke goal in the recent 3-1 victory at RB Leipzig.
“It’s only one goal and it’s only my first start of the season,” said Matondo, who has been recalled to the Wales squad after injury for this week’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Croatia.
“But hopefully I can get many more minutes this season and contribute with goals and assists and help the team climb the table.
“If I can do as well as he (Sancho) has done so far then I will be really happy.
“He is a great player. I have always known that since being at Manchester City with him how good he can be and how good he will be. Hopefully he can help me as well.
“Jadon didn’t make me move to Germany, but of course he is doing so well there and when it came around I thought ‘why not’?
“It wasn’t that I couldn’t see a pathway (at City), I believe in myself. Obviously at Manchester City it is tough – all the players are top players.
“But it was more that I had the opportunity to go and play first-team football and at the time I didn’t have that at Manchester City.
“So I preferred to play first-team football so I took the opportunity.”
Matondo, six months younger than Sancho, only turned 19 last month and never made a first-team appearance at City.
But he says moving to Germany was made easier by the fact he had left his home town Cardiff at the age of 15 to live in Manchester, even if cooking and learning German having tested him outside football.
“I had lived away from my family in Manchester, so it wasn’t so hard thinking I had to move abroad,” Matondo said.
“It’s not too far away and I was looking forward to it. It was quite an easy decision to make.
“I am enjoying it. Where I live there is not much to do – it is quiet in Gelsenkirchen.
“Being alone I just do more for myself, I go to the gym a lot and eat good food. I go on Gordon Ramsey a lot on YouTube and see what I can cook up. I try my best!
“German is tough to learn, but I feel like it’s important to speak it, not just in football but when you go out to a shop or anywhere.”
Matondo, once labelled the quickest player at City after beating the likes of Kyle Walker, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling in speed tests, has only made two starts for Schalke.
But he is confident that his career is heading in the right direction under the guidance of former Huddersfield manager David Wagner.
“I have still got a lot to improve on and learn but I am happy with how things are going,” said Matondo, who now has three Wales caps after making his debut last November.
“Hopefully there will be many more minutes for Schalke this season and hopefully that will encourage me to play more for Wales.
“When I was younger I always believed in myself. I always thought: you will be playing at a good level when you are 17, 18, 19.
“That’s what I am doing at the moment. We shall see (about the future), but I will give it my all.”
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