Rabbi Matondo (l.) is hoping to flourish at Schalke in the same way Jadon Sancho (r.) has done at Borussia Dortmund. - © imago / Getty images
Rabbi Matondo (l.) is hoping to flourish at Schalke in the same way Jadon Sancho (r.) has done at Borussia Dortmund. - © imago / Getty images
bundesliga

“Jadon Sancho gave me advice after I joined Schalke” – Rabbi Matondo

Borussia Dortmund and Schalke may have one of the fiercest rivalries in world football, but that did not stop BVB star Jadon Sancho reaching out to fellow Brit Rabbi Matondo with helpful advice when the latter arrived at the Royal Blues in January this year.

Matondo signed a four-and-a-half-year deal at the Veltins Arena, following Sancho’s footsteps to the Bundesliga after likewise finding his path to first-team football blocked at Manchester City.

Moving to a new country and culture can be daunting at the best of times, especially for a 19-year-old, but Matondo revealed that Sancho got in touch with him to help ease his transition into life in Germany.

The 19-year-old has made eight Bundesliga appearances to date for the Royal Blues, and scored his first goal on Matchday 6. - 2019 Getty Images

“Jadon contacted me after the move and gave me advice on how to go about things and how things would be,” the Schalke No.14 told TalkSport. “He was really good to me when I first moved and it was good to speak to him and see what he had to say.

“He’s doing very well and I hope he continues to do so. It was good to speak to him about everything, it gave me more encouragement to try to achieve good things in Germany and hopefully I will.”

Sancho has developed into a world-class attacker since joining Dortmund in 2017, and finished last season as the league’s top assist provider with 14. He has carried on apace this term and currently leads the way with five assists from six Bundesliga starts, as well as chipping in with three goals.

Watch: Sancho's best Bundesliga assists

And now Matondo is hoping for similar success of his own. The Wales international missed the start of 2019/20 with a foot injury but made his first appearance on Matchday 6, starting – and scoring – in an impressive 3-1 win away to then-Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig.

“I’m very happy right now with how things are going,” Matondo said. “Obviously after getting injured it wasn’t the best, but now I’m back and happy to get my first goal and first start of the season. Hopefully there’s plenty more to come.”

There appears to be little doubt about that, especially as he has already swiftly settled into the Schalke team and life in Gelsenkirchen.

Watch: Skip to 1:19 for Matondo's goal against Leipzig

“Of course it’s important to learn German and I’ll do my best to do so," he said. "I think I will eventually. It’s great, I’m loving it at the moment. I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I do right now. At first I was only thinking about football, but living in Germany is going well too.

"[Being at Schalke has] improved me as a player. Not only just living there, but the players are testing me every day, giving me advice […] it’s improving me.”

Matondo’s next opportunity to showcase that development could come on Matchday 8 when David Wagner’s charges travel to a Hoffenheim side buoyed by a shock 2-1 win away to Bayern Munich last weekend.

Schalke are experts at turning talented youngsters into top-class pros, with Weston McKennie (l.) just one of a number of examples at the club. - imago/Pakusch

And after playing up front alongside Guido Burgstaller in Leipzig, Matondo – who regularly operates as a winger – is confident he can help the side wherever he is asked to play.

“I started out as a striker as a young boy,” he said. “I got injured at a young age and when I came back I turned into a winger and I’ve been a winger ever since. I was on the wing at Man City and for Wales at youth level, but I can play as a striker as well so I can play anywhere along the front three. I’m comfortable with any of it.”