Life is great for Kevin Mbabu.
The former Newcastle United defender has made his international debut in a 6-0 win over Iceland, could play against England tomorrow, then a week on Wednesday is set to face Manchester United in the Champions League.
However, he was still gutted in the summer when not getting a move back to the Premier League.
A number of clubs were mentioned by the media, including Man United and Newcastle United.
It was one of Rafa’s stranger decisions, instead of giving the versatile full-back (can play right and left) a chance in the Championship season, the manager instead loaned Kevin Mbabu out to Young Boys (later making a permanent move for a nominal fee) whilst keeping Haidara at the club and bringing in Jesus Gamez who was hardly given a game.
Only making five appearances for Newcastle, plenty of fans liked what they saw, but it wasn’t to be.
Now he is talked about as a £10m+ defender and Newcastle are still looking for that elusive full-back cover, especially on the left. Difficult to believe he wouldn’t have been a better option than Manquillo.
Just shows that sometimes even the best managers make decisions that are hard to understand.
Kevin Mbabu speaking to La Tribune de Geneve:
Have you been able to sleep a bit or spent the night answering all the messages you received after the match (international debut as Switzerland beat Iceland 6-0)?
“It is true that I received quite a lot (laughs) . It was a special night, of course. My family came to the hotel, we spent time together and after that I went to bed. I assure you, I slept well.
“Everything is going on in recent weeks. The Champions League, the Swiss team. I try to manage all that, to concentrate on the game and only on the game. That’s how I’m going to progress. But for now, all I live is happiness.”
This Sunday evening, you fly to England, a country you know well …
“And that was very important to me. I spent four years and I have great memories. It’s like a homecoming for me.
“I enjoyed my stay in Newcastle. And England is a special country. I hope to play (there) soon, I really would like to return.
“I hope to play Tuesday of course, it’s prestigious to meet England (who play Switzerland at Leicester) , but I’m aware that others want to play too. I stand ready and I would be very happy to play this game.”
You say that you love England, but finally, you had to go back to Switzerland to explode at a high level. With hindsight, would you leave again as young (in 2013, at 18 years old)?
“Yes. I am here today thanks to all the stages of my career. England has been very helpful to me. Without it, I would not have the same path. Although I played little with the Newcastle first team, I learned a lot. Especially mentally. It is a very good experience that I do not regret at all.”
Would you advise a young man to go to England if he came to ask you the question?
“It all depends on the club. We can not answer “yes” or “no” to this question. It all depends on how the club works with young people. It is necessary to look if there are already players in his post, what is the project … In my case, I repeat, I do not regret my choice.”
You say you want to go back to England, but this summer, you stayed at Young Boys despite insistent rumors sending you abroad. With a few days back, can you come back on this end of transfer window?
“My wish was to go to a major championship, everyone knows it. It was not done for this time, no problem. With YB’s historic qualification for the Champions League, being part of the team that achieved this performance, it became difficult to leave. I look forward to living the next few months in Bern. The next challenge is the reception of Manchester United, it’s exciting.”