Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa claims that he benefited from his spells abroad at Newcastle and AS Roma but that it ‘did not totally work’ at St James Park.
Now back in France after a surprise move to Lyon, the central defender believes he can use that experience to succeed with his new club on Ligue 1 and the Champions League this coming season, as well as retaining hope of getting a place in France’s squad for when they host the Euros next summer.
At Newcastle it appeared to be a classic case of Alan Pardew deciding he didn’t like the look of a player he had been handed by Newcastle’s unique transfer workings, with Graham Carr identifying Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa as a player who could succeed in the Premier League.
Pardew though had regularly talked about being desperate for a tall dominant centre-back, whereas he was handed a player who he made clear he didn’t think could play alongside Coloccini. Neither of them tall for a central defender and both more comfortable on the ball than being the main winner of the ball in the air.
Subsequently, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa only started 28 league matches in the two years he was contracted to Newcastle and often played at left or right full-back rather than his proper position.
However, now he is looking only forward and looking to benefit from the ‘physical’ education he received at Newcastle and in the Premier League:
“As a player, everyone wants to discover (what it’s like playing) abroad.
“In England (at Newcastle) I experienced a new team and also the impact of physical work, although my experience there did not totally work.
“In Rome it went better for me, I played a lot and I learned a lot with coach Rudi Garcia. I hope to share my experience with my new team-mates at OL (Lyon).”
“I did not expect to came to OL but I am really happy to be here and to be part of this project, I will give 100 per cent. There is a lot of expectation around me but I’ll try to answer that and do good things.
“At first, we thought it was just a rumour but the president and the coach were very convincing, we were forced to give way because this is a beautiful project and I’m really happy to be back in France.”