Matty Bondswell opens up on failed League One loan as left-back seizes Newcastle United chance

Matty Bondswell was thrown into the deep end against Benfica but came out on top for Newcastle United.

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It’s often thought that a young player’s first loan is the most important step. And that appears to be the case for Matty Bondswell, although not in a way you’d expect.

The 20-year-old joined League One side Shrewsbury Town on a half-season loan in January but was recalled less than two months later after failing to make an EFL appearance.

Naturally, doubts over Bondswell emerged but the left-back, who signed from Red Bull Leipzig last year, was able to prove his doubters wrong during Tuesday’s Eusebio Cup tie in Benfica.

A surprise inclusion - including Santiago Munoz and Alex Murphy - to the Portugal trip, Bondswell was introduced as half time substitute in place of Matt Targett at the Estadio da Luz.

Some might have been fearing the worse for Bondswell when he was tasked with keeping the Champions League club’s attackers quiet.

Newcastle United left-back Matty Bondswell. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United left-back Matty Bondswell. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United left-back Matty Bondswell. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

But Bondswell impressively rose to the challenge with leaders Kieran Trippier and Dan Burn singling him out for special praise, while head coach Eddie Howe also spoke highly.

Despite being frozen out by Steve Cotterill at Shrewsbury, Bondswell insists he learned a lot.

“I was with the under-21s in Spain and I am thankful to have the opportunity to showcase myself.” said Bondswell, who previously linked up with Elliot Dickman’s under-21s for their pre-season camp in Pinatar. “I hope I have done myself justice.

“I’d say from the Shrewsbury experience, I learned a lot from it. I learned about myself about what it takes to get into first-team football and what it takes to break into a starting XI.

“Nobody is guaranteed a place in any XI. It doesn’t matter whether you are the best player in the world or an up-and-coming youngster.

“I have definitely learned a lot and I’d say I am in a much better position now than I was when I was sent to Shrewsbury.”

For context, Bondswell’s only previous senior appearance came in a pre-season friendly at Doncaster Rovers last July in front of 6,787 fans at the Keepmoat Stadium - compared to the near 50,000-crowd that packed into the Estadio da Luz on Tuesday night.

Bondswell said: “Any player who is asked to play in front of that many fans like at Benfica it shows they are confident in you and it gives you more self-belief.

“I am really happy that they gave me the opportunity and I just want to help every day. And I want to learn from him (Howe) every day and the other players around me.

“It was really good fun and I enjoyed it a lot. The boys made it very easy for me with the communication and stuff like that, it was a great experience for me.

“We prepared throughout the week and even though we had a session before the game. “ knew what I would have to do whether I played or not.

“I didn’t know what the plan was going to be exactly but I was ready for anything due to the preparation.

“Thankfully I got my opportunity.”