Rabbi Matondo wants to be Stoke City’s risk-taking difference and help a push for promotion in the second half of the season.
The 20-year-old winger has joined on a loan deal from Schalke tasked with filling the void left by his mate Tyrese Campbell – and says he is fit and ready to make his debut in the FA Cup against Leicester if called upon by Michael O’Neill.
But the Championship is the main prize this year and he wants to help carry Stoke back into the Premier League.
And a subtle change to his social media account made a nod to the club’s recent history at the top. His current location, according to Twitter? That’ll be Stokealona.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said in an interview for the club website.
“I’m delighted to sign. I’ve come to help the lads in every possible way I can and obviously as an attacking player, to get goals and assists and try to help the team to a promotion spot. That’s what I’m looking to do.
“Stoke are good club who have been involved in the Premier League in the last 10 years and they’re a strong Premier League side normally. We all know we’re looking forward to trying to push for that because that’s where this club belongs.
“I know some of the lads already from Wales and there are some experienced guys in here so I’m looking forward to playing with the team and looking forward to working with the manager and staff, Billy (McKinlay) and Andy Cousins.”
He added: “I liked everything with the way the gaffer Stoke to me and I liked everything about Stoke. I know there’s a big opportunity for me and hopefully I can make the most of it.”
Matondo has played across the forward line as he came through the ranks at Cardiff and Manchester City but has been used mostly on the right wing by Schalke.
The left is his preferred position as he likes to cut in on his right foot, take on defenders and use his lightning speed.
He said: “I like to take risks in the final third, I like to dribble and use my pace and hopefully I can add some goals and assists and help the team climb the table.”
“I’d say my best position was on the left wing but I can play down the middle or on the right. Ideally, I’d say left wing.”
Matondo has spent two years at Schalke, who have been in a slugfest at the wrong end of the table for too much of that – and got through four managers.
But he said: “It’s been a top experience, playing in unbelievable stadiums against unbelievable teams.
“It’s made me grow up, moving away from the UK and going to another country, but I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to this chapter now.
“I feel like I’m ready. I believe I’m ready to show myself in England and help Stoke finish the season positively.”
Matondo is hoping to break into the Wales team – one of half-a-dozen Stoke players with the same ambition – in time for the European Championships this summer.
But he knows that if he performs at club level, the rest will take care of itself.
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He said: “It’s been a weird season anyway because of what’s going on around the world but I feel like the club has done well. They’re still around the play-offs and I feel like we can push on from now.
“Personally, I want to help the team. I want to put in good performances and make the fans happy and the club happy.
“The Euros is an extra incentive. I want to go to the Euros, who wouldn’t? Hopefully playing for Stoke will give me that opportunity with good performances and playing regularly.”