Introducing - Roberto Nditi

Another new face within Manager, Allan Johnston’s first team squad for next season is 20-year-old Roberto Nditi. The enthusiastic youngster makes the move to Dumfries following a short spell in Angus with Forfar Athletic and he couldn’t be happier “I can’t wait for the challenge”.

Although having spent much of his footballing life in England Queens are not completely new to him “To be honest I came for a short period before joining Forfar and I was impressed with the boy’s mentality which stems from the Manager. I also liked the facilities, the people around the club and the fans. It seems like a tight knit club and I really like the feel of a family environment along with the chance of full-time football”.

The chance of full-time football is usually the main reason for a young player joining a club but Roberto says that is only a bonus “For me it’s the fans and the tight knit club that were the main attraction. Full time is obviously a bonus but the feeling of being wanted as a player is key. You always want to play somewhere that you feel appreciated and can settle in quickly – that is my mentality when it comes to it”.

The defender caught the eye of many with an impressive performance against Dundee United in the Scottish Cup last season and had attracted the attention of a few clubs, but for him it wasn’t a difficult choice “It was an easy decision, you obviously have to weigh up your options but after I spoke to the Manager and we went through things it was an easy decision. As I say I looked at all the positives around the club and how well they did last season, hopefully we can push on and do even better this season and I really couldn’t wait to get involved”.

“My aim is to get as fit as possible, make the most of pre-season and get back up to scratch so that I can hopefully become a regular starter in the first team and contribute as much as possible. You want to turn up in games and be effective, you want to be someone making the team go to better places. I’m really looking forward to the challenge, getting into the team and making a positive impact”.

Starting his career at Reading, Roberto moved to Berkshire club, Bracknell Town where he was part of a team that were unbeaten in their league when Covid brought a halt to the campaign. He then moved north to continue his career at Forfar. Having played both sides of the border he feels that Scottish football doesn’t get the respect it deserves “To be honest there isn’t as much of a difference as people think, the levels in Scotland are fairly high. I think sometimes people down south might disregard it not knowing the quality of players in all teams. Obviously when you get to the Premier league you’ve got teams competing in the Champions League and the Europa League so I don’t think there is too much of a difference. I mainly played for the U23’s so I think the main thing for me is the step up from 23’s to first team football, but I think there is quality wherever you go, I think it is more about your mentality and how you apply yourself on the pitch”.

Although only 20 the youngster appears to be fully focused “Sometimes in football I think you think you are getting on quickly and you think you should be doing better. I’m always pushing to be the best person I can be and at the end of the day any athlete wants to be the best they can be so I don’t really set boundaries – I think my boundaries are limitless its more really what I can achieve. I would like to play at the top so I can get up to international levels. But for me as long as I keep pushing and keep my mind set correct then I hope I can reach the level I would like to reach”.

Should Roberto achieve his ambition of being an International footballer, then with mixed heritage he may have a choice to make “That is a massive decision. I haven’t really had that opportunity to sit and think about that as I have been concentrating on working to get to a level where I can potentially. My Dad is Tanzanian and Mum Italian and I was born and raised in England. I would be proud to represent any of my heritage as each country is a part of me and the way I have been raised is to respect and understand my Italian, Tanzanian and English sides, so it is a good debate but one I will have on another day”.

Of course, he is now part of a Scottish family “Yes 100% – I was really welcomed at Forfar by the fans and they are a great club and I really appreciate what they did for me. And straight away at Queens, the fans seem great, you can tell they want the club to do well and they will back the manager and back the players and I cant wait for them to be allowed back into the stadiums so that I can meet them all and hopefully be well received”.

The chance to play in the Championship is the next level for Roberto and one he is relishing “Of course it is a step up from playing league one but I was at Reading for 11 years which is a Championship side in England and throughout the whole academies I have been playing against top players from Chelsea, Man City to Arsenal so I am used to the competition. Of course it is different when you reach men’s football, but I really want to push myself, I know it is a step up, Championship football is going to be good, a chance to test myself to see if I am ready for it, which I am sure I’m capable of doing”.

“One hundred percent it is going to be a competitive league but everyone involved in football wants to win and be competitive. Nobody wants to lose so I think if we work hard as a team, train hard, gel as a team there is no reason we can’t be competing and doing very well”.

On a personal level he adds “First things first I want the team to do well and get to the top four. At the start of the season, in football you must want to win the league. You should always be pushing for the highest place, the better we push the more opportunities you get. But my main focus is where I am right now and my future with Queen of the South”.

“As a player I would describe myself as self confidence but not arrogant. I have a humble confidence in my ability. I am not the tallest or the most physical player you’re going to see and usually as a defender that is taken into account massively, so I am kind of trying to prove that height and physicality isn’t always vital. If you are sharp and quick and can read the game well you don’t always need physical attributes”.