As Newcastle United made it into Round 3 of the Capital One Cup by beating Morecambe two-nil thanks to goals from Shola and Sammy Ameobi, I couldn’t help but think that Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa reminded me of someone – none other than the calamitous Jean-Alain Boumsong.
I think it would be fair to say that Yanga-Mbiwa hasn’t exactly had the best of starts to his Newcastle career following his move from Montpellier in January.
The transition from Ligue 1 to Premier League hasn’t been the smoothest to date and this was further illustrated by his performance yesterday evening.
Given the captain’s armband by Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, convincing and composed are two words you couldn’t use to describe the Frenchman’s performance.
The 24-year-old time and time again was playing himself into trouble at the back and, while he is strong, fast and has great athletic ability, he just doesn’t inspire his teammates or Newcastle fans to have any confidence in him.
Now the comparison to Boumsong is clearly a little bit harsh, but Yanga-Mbiwa was signed for a fee in excess of £5 million (Jean-Alain cost £8m) and both have played international football for France (and both have a double-barrelled name!)
A couple of things in Mapou’s favour are that he was scouted by Graham Carr (who is a pretty decent judge of player), respected football experts in France who have seen a lot more of him rate him very highly, and he is only 24 – he still has time to learn.
There is no doubting that Yanga-Mbiwa has plenty of potential but I’m just not sure he is the man to play first team football right now alongside captain Fabricio Coloccini in the heart of the Newcastle defence.
I hope I’m wrong, but the early signs aren’t great for Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa…
PS: He’s amazing in FIFA, so that’s something!