Rabbi Matondo has to live up to his Rangers hype following comments from former coach
Rabbi Matondo now needs to live up to the growing hype around him to offer Rangers and Michael Beale the consistency they so desperately need in attack.
In what has been a poor start to the season for the Light Blues, Matondo has been one of the few bright sparks at Ibrox, with his best moment coming in the first leg of the Champions League playoff against PSV, where he came off the bench to put the Gers ahead.
Cercle Brugge boss Miron Muslic has been eager to praise the winger having coached him during a loan spell and suggested he has the profile of a Premier League player and the ability to “kill teams off with one action,” as a genuine “game changer” for Beale’s side [Rangers Review, 13 September].
But around the bright European cameos and strong appearances from the bench against Ross County and Livingston, the 23-year-old has been unable to show that he can be relied upon as a consistent starter for Beale’s side. His struggle to impact proceedings in the second-leg thrashing at the hands of PSV and the defeat to Celtic at Ibrox are prime examples of this.
At this current moment, Matondo is viewed as one of the Gers’ brighter players, but realistically that is a damning indictment of just how poor the football has been at Ibrox so far this season, rather than much credit to the Wales international.
He has shown in flashes just what he is capable of and nobody doubts that he possesses immense quality as suggested by Muslic. But for him to be considered a Premier League calibre of player he has to be performing week in and week out rather than in flashes from the bench.
In the four Scottish Premiership matches so far this season, Matondo has only notched up 114 minutes, creating an impressive three chances for his teammates but only managing to have one shot on target himself while also missing a big chance in front of goal [Fotmob].
That lack of end product is a fairly damning characteristic, especially when you consider the fact that the Gers have had 80 shots in the Scottish Premiership already this season, 20 more than the next highest in Celtic [Fbref].
Matondo is yet to score a domestic goal for the Ibrox club, despite having played more than 20 games in Light Blue, and across his two seasons he has only managed to register 1.88 expected goals in league matches from seven shots [Fotmob].
While much of what Muslic said about Matondo was positive and suggested Rangers have to find a way of making the 23-year-old feel relaxed and confident to get the best out of him, it will be hard for Beale to instil trust in a player that he doesn’t particularly have much faith in.
With Ryan Kent’s departure leaving a huge hole on the left wing for Beale’s side, Matondo should be using his talent to grab his chance with both hands. Instead, he is failing to live up to his hype and establish himself as a mainstay of the Gers’ frontline when Beale needs consistent performers more than ever
In other Rangers news, Real Betis have suffered a crisis in defence ahead of their trip to Ibrox