"It's a great feeling" - Bondswell relishing Newcastle switch
After completing a move to Newcastle United this month, Matty Bondswell admitted there were a number of key factors in his decision to join the Magpies.
The 18-year-old left-back arrived on Tyneside following his departure from Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig in February and will initially be part of United's under-23 squad.
The teenage defender, a representative of England from under-15 to under-18 level, is raring to go with his new club and revealed the pathway to first-team football played a major part in opting to sign for Newcastle.
"It's a great feeling to join such a massive club with great history," Bondswell told nufc.co.uk. "I'm really looking forward to being able to get out onto the pitch and train with all the boys.
"I've been with the under-23s at the minute and I'm really enjoying it. There's a lot of really good players in the team which is always a good thing in terms of how well we can do but also in training sessions and being able to test yourself."
He added: "I think Newcastle was the club which made the most sense in terms of where I am at the moment. They offer the best opportunity for me to be where I want to be in the future.
"If you ask every footballer, the majority will say their goal is to play in the Premier League. That is part of the reason why I came to Newcastle as well because of the projects they have had with the young players in the under-23s, and hopefully going on to playing first-team football.
"As well as the football side of things, I've heard many great things about the city. I have a few friends living up here so that helped in making the decision, being in and around a place where I feel comfortable and being able to settle in quickly."
After spending eight years at Nottingham Forest's Academy, the young defender made a courageous decision to leave his hometown club and relocate to the east of Germany in his bid for first-team football.
Bondswell believes the move to Leipzig benefited him both as a player and person, with the teenager also making his senior debut in the Netherlands whilst on loan at Eerste Divisie side FC Dordrecht in August 2020.
"I moved to Germany when I was 16 years old, straight after my exams at school," Bondswell explained. "It was a really good experience. Things were done differently in Germany compared to England, such as training sessions, and I really enjoyed my time there.
"I met a lot of good people, made a lot of friends who I still talk to today and learnt a different language which all made me grow as a person as well as a player.
"It was a difficult decision to leave Forest because being born in Nottingham, growing up around the football club and being there for half my life when I was there was tough but, at the same time, I had to do what was best for me and that was going to Germany.
"There was a lot of young, English players moving to Germany during that time and seeing how successful they had been, it only made sense for me to go and try that myself.
"Being on loan at Dordrecht in Holland (for the first-half of the 2020/21 campaign) helped me a lot too. Being in and around a men's environment in football is a really big thing, especially for younger players, and just like my time in Germany it also matured me.
"I had to be more independent and do a lot more things for myself which only brought positive things. I learnt a lot about myself and it helped shape me into the person I am."
An athletic full-back who "likes one-versus-one defending and joining in attacks on the wing", Bondswell represented Nottinghamshire Schools at 200 metres and won a silver medal in triple jump at the 2017 English Schools Track and Field Championship.
He also aims to follow in the similar footsteps of Magpies skipper Jamaal Lascelles and goalkeeper Karl Darlow, who both began their footballing career at Forest's youth set-up before eventually going to make their mark for the Magpies.
"Their pictures were both on there which gives me a little bit of motivation. I've seen those two players have their pictures on the wall and they started off at the same place where I did.
"It gives me some motivation to see if I can follow on the same path as they have."
Bondswell is currently adapting to his new surroundings in the North East but is already determined to make an immediate impact for the Magpies' second-string with the long-term aim of gaining more experience at senior level.
"For now, I want to get myself settled in, making sure I'm ready to be part of the under-23 team and contribute in games as soon as I can," he said.
"I want to showcase my ability because you only get one opportunity to make a good first impression so you've got to do what you can. I want to prove myself to those people that I need to impress, showing what I can do which can hopefully lead to more opportunities in the future."