Matt Smith's move to Doncaster Rovers had blessing at international level

Matt Smith revealed his move to Doncaster Rovers earned the blessing of his coaches at international level.

Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 6:00 am

The Manchester City midfielder was in the midst of sorting a loan move when he last reported for international duty with the senior Wales side.

A switch to Rovers was finalised while away in Bulgaria for a Nations League tie, with Wales boss Ryan Giggs and other senior coaches giving Smith the thumbs up for the move.

“He [Giggs] spoke to me last year about the importance of playing games at my age,” Smith said.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Matt Smith

“Wales have been fantastic with helping me find a team and a club where I will get games.

“I spoke to him and the assistant and they were really positive and said very good things about the gaffer.

“They thought it would be positive and a great thing for me.

“So far, I feel like it has been a positive experience.”

Smith was hoping to add to his 12 caps for his country in Wednesday night’s clash with Finland, with Wales needing to avoid defeat to win promotion to the top tier in the Nations League.

Whatever happens during the current international period, it is likely to be a smoother experience for the 20-year-old than the last one.

“I always knew it was looking very possible I was going to join Doncaster,” he said.

“You’ve almost got to put it to the back of your mind and focus on what you’ve got to do with Wales.

“Of course, you’re speaking to people and finding out what is happening.

“As soon as I heard the gaffer was interested, it was something that immediately I thought would be great for me.

“My mind was on Wales and I had a great camp away and I knew it would only help me when I got back to Doncaster.

“It was a pretty quick turnaround. We got back late after the game and I was up early to do the Covid tests and all that.

“And then I was up on the Friday to train and meet the lads which was great.”

Smith is looking to cement his place at the forefront of plans for the national team, with Wales due to compete in the rearranged European Championship next summer.

And he knows that performing well for Rovers will be key to that.

“I think so far the gaffer has given me a platform to help Doncaster Rovers and give everything I have in every game I play,” he said.

“The lads have been great and the experience in the squad is great. It’s very positive and that’s the best thing for me.

“I think it’s about getting back to doing what I was doing when I was away in Holland. Playing and enjoying being here and getting minutes to improve me.

“I’m still learning in football and on doing work, with my body still not fully developed.

“It’s finding ways to fine tune the little details that will hopefully make me a better player.”

*

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.