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Paul Bodin: Rabbi Matondo declined offer to join Wales U21s squad

Wales v Mexico – International Friendly – Cardiff City Stadium
(Image credit: David Davies)

Rabbi Matondo has turned down the chance to reintegrate himself into the Wales set-up with Paul Bodin saying the winger declined the offer to join his Under-21s squad.

Matondo has won eight senior caps but has not been involved for Wales since being thrown out of Robert Page’s squad in March for breaching Covid-19 protocols.

The 21-year-old is on a season-long at Cercle Brugge from Schalke, the German club who paid Manchester City over £11million for him in January 2019.

Wales v USA – International Friendly – Liberty Stadium

Rabbi Matondo (right) has won eight senior Wales caps (David Davies/PA)

“We spoke to him when he wasn’t in the first-team squad a couple of weeks ago,” said Wales Under-21s manager Bodin.

“He has been involved in a number of games but he just said he doesn’t feel he is really 100 per cent fit to play international football.

“He is still building up his match minutes. He didn’t do a pre-season so he’s had a mini pre-season.

“Come March time, I’m sure he is going to have 10 to 15 games under his belt and he will be available for either the first team or ourselves.”

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Matondo has made eight appearances for Cercle this season and started their last three league games.

His move to Belgium came after an underwhelming Stoke loan spell in the second half of last season, where he made 11 appearances and scored one goal.

Bodin said: “Rabbi is a talented boy and he is a young lad.

“Players with pace in the modern game are eye-catching and difficult to defend against. Rabbi comes into that bracket.

“Was it a move too early for him, going to Germany as an 18-year-old? Going to a new environment, living on his own?

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“Hopefully he can get his club career on track and if he is playing regularly and producing goals and assists, I am sure Rob will be looking at him for the next campaign.”

Wales Under-21s are back in action against Switzerland in Euro 2023 qualifying in Newport on Tuesday.

Bodin’s side claimed Wales’ best-ever win in this age group by thrashing Gibraltar 7-0 on Friday.

“We were very professional in our approach and to score seven goals at any level is fantastic,” said Bodin.

“Hopefully we haven’t used up our full quota for the camp and we’ve got a few more left in us.”