Khumalo happy to play a lead role back in England

Doncaster Rovers' Bongani Khumalo in action against Rochdale AFC.
Doncaster Rovers' Bongani Khumalo in action against Rochdale AFC.
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Matchwinner Bongani Khumalo is glad to be back in England after broadening his horizons in Greece, writes Paul Goodwin.

The 26-year-old defender, whose last minute winner against Rochdale on Tuesday night set up a Capital One Cup second round clash with Leeds United, spent last season on loan at PAOK after struggling to make an impact at parent club Tottenham Hotspur.

But Khumalo is focused on succeeding in England - and sees his move to Doncaster as a vital career step.

“My year in Greece was good in terms of my overall development as a player,” said Khumalo.

“I’d spent two years in England before I went over there and obviously it’s a totally different style of football and different mentality altogether.

“But I learned a lot from it and believe it added another dimension to my game.

“Now coming back to England I know what it’s all about, I’m better prepared and I’m ready to show what I can really offer.

“The Championship is a lot more direct,” he added.

“People are well aware of the pace and physicality of the game at this level.

“I’ve had a taste of it before [on loan with Reading] so I know exactly what to expect.

“I really love the style of football in this country and having played for a year in Greece I couldn’t wait to get back in England.

“This is where I want to play my football.”

In a strange quirk of fate, both of Doncaster’s goals this season have come from centre backs, with Khumalo following the lead of Rob Jones who netted in last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Blackpool.

And the South African international also hopes to follow the example set by skipper Jones in terms of his organisational abilities.

“I’ve enjoyed playing alongside Rob,” he said.

“He’s very vocal.

“As a defender you have to be a leader, whether you like it or not.

“That’s what I want to bring.

“I want to bring leadership qualities.

“ I love communicating with the players around me.”