PUTTING his injury woes firmly behind him and helping Rangers to flourish in the Europa League, cinch Premiership and Scottish Cup in the second half of the season are Rabbi Matondo’s immediate objectives at the moment.

However, the winger, who opened the scoring in the 2-2 draw with Copenhagen in a friendly at Ibrox on Tuesday evening, has another major incentive to get back to his best in the coming weeks and months.

The 11-times capped 23-year-old would like to force his way back in to the Wales set-up and help his country to qualify for the Euro 2024 finals in Germany this summer.

His national team take on Finland in Cardiff in the Path A play-off semi-final on March 21.

If they prevail in that outing they will play either Estonia or Poland three days later for a place in Group D alongside the Netherlands, Austria and France.

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Matondo, who spent two months out last year after suffering a knee injury in a league win over Motherwell, has not featured for Wales since a Nations League game against the Netherlands back in the June of 2022.

But he is determined to be involved again during the next international break and believes if he can shine for Rangers at home and abroad then he can earn himself a recall.

Asked if he was keen to be involved the Euro 2024 play-offs, he said: “A hundred per cent. Everyone wants to represent their country on those stages. But ultimately it comes from how well you do at your club. 

“It’s obviously a privilege to represent your country and it comes from putting in performances for your club.  My biggest thing right now is to concentrate on Rangers and giving my all for the team. If I do that and I do it well, it gives me a better chance of representing my country, Wales.”

The Herald: Matondo was introduced to Rangers great Brian Laudrup after the Copenhagen friendly at Ibrox on Tuesday night and he confessed he would like to grace the same stage as the Euro 1992 winner this June.  

“Any player will tell you that if they can represent their country at the Euros or World Cup then it’s big for them,” he said. “Of course, it would be big for me.

“But, like I said, I need to give my all for Rangers. We’ve got an important games and tournaments that we’re involved in. If I do well in that then it gives me a better chance. 

“That’s the aim, of course. I’m going to try and do my best for the team and hopefully you get rewarded with special opportunities to represent your country in tournaments like the Euros. 

“I’ll give my all for Rangers, like I always have done, and hopefully that will be enough to be help me with my national team and everything else.”

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Matondo, a £2.5m signing from German club Schalke 04 in 2022, has been encouraged by the fact that Wales manager Rob Page and his coaching staff have kept tabs on his progress while he has been sidelined.  

“When I was injured there was a lot of communication there,” he said. “When would I be back and stuff like that. Right now, we’ve still got a long way until March. So I’ve just got to focus on my club. I’m sure the national team will do whatever they have to do.”

The former Manchester City kid has only impressed in flashes since moving to this country, but he looks, with Abdallah Sima away representing Senegal in the African Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast this month, set to enjoy an extended run in the first team when the winter break ends and competitive action resumes this weekend.

He is eager to grasp the opportunity and showcase his talents – starting with the Scottish Cup fourth round match against Dumbarton at The Rock on Saturday evening – and thinks having Philippe Clement overseeing his progress will enable him to do so.

“It’s obviously difficult to be injured, but it happens in football,” he said. “You have to come back and try and find the rhythm, get back and show what you are capable of. It’s not always easy.

“But with what the manager wants and how demanding he is, it makes it easy and clear. It’s then down to you to get to the levels and try and improve from being injured. You just have to believe and trust the process of God’s plan and keep pushing away.”