Stoke City new boy Rabbi Matondo should be in heaven says Mike Pejic


There are different types of players who will give defenders problems.

The winger I learned the most from was Mike Summerbee. He had decent pace but he was tough as well and I still respect him to this day. Whenever we see each other, when we’re allowed, we still put our arms around each other – in a more friendly way than I tried to 50 years ago.

Speed is a big, dangerous asset. I remember watching Don Ratcliffe as a Stoke City fan growing up in the 60s and he was like a road runner. When he set off, they’d shout ‘Open the gates’ in the paddock.

You can talk about dribbling in tight areas but that skill is to create half-a-yard and once Ratcliffe had done that, he’d get the ball out of his feet, had space to attack and zoom forward.

It will be interesting to watch Rabbi Matondo if he’s half as fast as his reputation.

If there is room to exploit behind a wing-back, he should be in heaven – and wing-backs is one of the trends at the moment that happen from season to season.

Tyrese Campbell had been performing well in that role – but if you don’t have someone similar to try to take a chance to fill his boots in the same area, your team will be less functional.

You can see that Michael O’Neill is still trying to balance the squad to iron out those problems. It’s an important part of his job because our transfers weren’t good enough, going back to when we’d finished ninth three years on the trot.

We had Asmir Begovic, Robert Huth, Glenn Whelan and Peter Crouch as the spine of a team doing so well but paid the price for not having the next Huth or Crouch ready to go. Signs come around and you have to take heed. If you’re not prepared, it can hit you.

Now we need to have in mind the next Steven Fletcher, the next John Obi Mikel.

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Fletcher is a massive player. Sam Vokes is good in the area but needs that service, it needs to be the right type of game. If you’re missing supply then you’re in trouble.

It will be an ongoing process but O’Neill is getting respect back. You can see that teams are respecting Stoke – and you can bet Leicester will be the same this weekend considering what we did against Wolves and Aston Villa and how we performed against Spurs.

Let’s hope we give them a good game but we know we’re not going to win the FA Cup this season. The real business is in the Championship and let’s hope Matondo gets us on track to break into that top six.





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