Former Mag Kevin Mbabu has admitted he contributed to his own downfall at Newcastle United, revealing some of the ‘mistakes’ he made as a young teen on Tyneside.
The Swiss star – who’s now a regular at international level – accepts there was ‘a bit too much temptation’ around the city at one point, suggesting he fell into the trap of enjoying his success too soon as a naive ‘kid’.
Here’s what Mbabu’s had to say when reflecting on his inability to make the most of a move from Servette to St James’ Park in 2013:
“I really liked the life in Newcastle, a bit too much temptation sometimes when you’re bored,”
“That’s what the young players have to be careful with over there, but it’s actually a great city, and a huge, huge fanbase. I would definitely want to come back and visit Newcastle again.
“When I first came to Newcastle, I came to watch a game, and the stadium was as full as always, and there was this amazing atmosphere. I just told myself my goal was to play on this pitch one day. I managed to do it, but not as much as I wanted to.”
“When I came to England, I was a teenager, a kid, and now I’m a man with a lot more maturity,”
“I learned from all the mistakes I made at Newcastle, so now I know what I can do and when, so there’s a lot of things I would do different, and that I’m doing different.”
Many wondered why Rafa Benitez let the talented full-back leave for BSC Young Boys after an eye-catching loan spell with the Swiss giants, but his comments here suggest he lacked discipline at the time – something Benitez demanded on and off the pitch above all else.
A few years on, many of us are left wondering what might have been, with Mbabu going from strength to strength after earning himself a £8m move to Wolfsburg.
Now, the 24-year-old is playing regularly in the Bundesliga, competing in the Europa League and looks set to start for Switzerland at EURO 2020.
He may regret what happened at Newcastle, but it may have been for the best based on the way his career has gone from strength to strength since Rafa sold him.