If there’s a player of whom so much was expected but we’ve not quite seen delivered it’s Rabbi Matondo.
Hailed as the big answer to Rangers’ long-lasting right wing issue, the Wales international, a Schalke player on loan at Cercle Brugges, Matondo impressed everyone v Spurs with electric pace, a good dribble, good vision and an assist.
In short, ‘going by preseason’ Matondo was the answer we’d sought and was looking like a bargain jewel at just £2M, especially given his peak market value at around £10M.
Unfortunately he hasn’t hit the ground running in competitive games. The only match he has impressed on any level in is the second half drubbing of St Johnstone, the-then worst team in the league, and that really isn’t much of a barometer.
Whether it’s confidence issues or settling in problems, we’ve not yet seen any of that preseason potential realised, and it’s a real pity.
Let’s be clear – Matondo is one of these ‘rough gems’ – a player with every single trait needed at the top level to be a really fine asset. He has pace, he has power, he can dribble, pick a pass and generally be dangerous on the wing. He doesn’t hide, and he works hard.
Unfortunately, the big trait he needs is mental fortitude – the intangible psychological belief that he is good enough at a club as big as Rangers. It’s one thing to be good enough ‘phsyically’, another one to deliver it for a jersey as heavy as ours on a stage as big as Ibrox.
We believe he needs time to settle, time to deliver on that preseason promise. We know there’s a player there, he’s got almost a dozen Wales caps and 30 Bundesliga appearances (not to mention almost 30 in Belgium too) under his belt for us to know he’s played at the highest levels, and you don’t fluke those.
He’s not got going yet for Rangers, but we look forward to him when he does.