Rabbi Matondo targets Manchester City breakthrough after shock Wales appearance

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Manchester City teenager Rabbi Matondo hopes his shock Wales debut can help him break into Pep Guardiola’s senior squad.

The 18-year-old made a cameo appearance from the bench as Wales lost 1-0 to Albania in their Elbasan friendly on Tuesday.

Matondo has been a regular goalscorer for City’s Under-23 side this season and produced a couple of scintillating bursts to show why he is so highly regarded by the Premier League champions.

“I’m sure playing for my country and against top international players will help me at club level,” Matondo said.

“The whole world is watching and if I can do it on the international stage, it will show I can do it at my club.

“It’s always been the aim to break through at club and international level.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve fully broken through at international level now, but I’m getting a step closer.

“I’m working towards the same at club level. It will be difficult, but everything is hard in football and that’s the path I’ve chosen.

“So I’ve just got to go for it and keep working hard. It’s not up to me, but I will just try my best.”

Liverpool-born Matondo also qualifies to represent England and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where his father Dada is from and where he played football for several clubs.

Matondo could still technically play for either as the Albania game was a non-competitive fixture, but the Cardiff-raised youngster has pledged his future to Wales.

“It has always been Wales for me,” Matondo said. “I’m happy here and happy with (Wales manager) Ryan Giggs of course.

“He’s given me an opportunity and I’m grateful for that. This time last week I wasn’t expecting to be here, but this is what I’ve been building up for all my life.

“As a youngster I was watching Gareth Bale and now I’m playing with him.

“It still seems crazy to me to be on the same pitch as him, training with him and being around him. It’s the same with Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey – it’s just crazy.”

Matondo began his career at Cardiff before joining Manchester City in 2016, where he has since made steady progress through the age groups at the Etihad Stadium.

He might have played in the 2-0 win over San Marino on Tuesday that earned Wales a place in UEFA’s Under-19 elite round but for a weekend call to join Giggs’ squad.

“I was at home chilling and relaxing with my family when I got a call from my agent,” he said. “He said I was going to be called up for Wales and I was shocked.

“I didn’t expect it, but you have to be ready for these situations and I was. I was a bit nervous, I’m not going to lie, especially because we were losing at the time.

“As an attacker you want to make an impact whenever you come off the bench at whatever age, whether it’s the juniors or the first team.”

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