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A Talented Youngster – But He Struggles With Injuries

9:11 am, Monday, July 25th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 62 Comments

Kevin Mbabu had an excellent game for the Newcastle U-21 side in beating PSV 1-0 to win he Steel Park Cup yesterday and surprisingly enough Kevin has said that’s the first full 90 minutes he has played since he lasted the full game at home against Chelsea last season.

kevin mbabu

Kevin Mbabu in action against Chelsea last September

The Chelsea game was back on September 26th last year that we ended up drawing 2-2 after leading 2-0 with just 11 minutes to play.

The 21 year-old was great in that game, but injuries restricted his playing time last season to just 5 Newcastle appearances – the first season he has played in the first team.

We are hoping with Rafa concentrating on reducing the injuries at the club – Kevin can benefit from that.

There was a scare about his fitness when he had to leave the Ireland training camp in County Kildare, but it seems it wasn’t much of an injury and more of a precautionary move; Kevin was training again shortly after that.

This is what the former Swiss U-19 International has told the Chronicle today:

“Of course it’s important for me to play my first 90 minutes since last September against Chelsea,”

“I felt good out there and I’m really happy.” “My leg was tired across in Ireland so I came back a little earlier than everyone else but I trained for a few days afterwards and I’m back now.”

“I’m hoping to get some more minutes and get towards pushing for the first team.”

“It was really important for me to come down here because I need to play games and I need to get some confidence as well.

“I’m happy with my performance, the performance of the team, and also that I got a full 90 minutes.”

“We have to get back in the Premier League – that’s where we belong,” “We can do it, definitely.”

“It’s really exciting for us right now with the manager in charge.”

Kevin got a two year extension of his contract when Newcastle activated a clause in his contract and we would like to see him stay at Newcastle this season.

But the word is depending how he does in pre-season it could be he is sent out on loan by Rafa.

This lad is a good player and can have a Newcastle future, but he has to stay fit so he can show just what a good player he could become on Tyneside.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · Contracts · Injuries · Kevin Mbabu · Newcastle News · Newcastle Youth

62 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Slank // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:16 AM



    Deli Ali only ever wanted to play for a north London team. This is common knowledge especially in the south.

    If there was haggling (negotiations) it was because Deli Ali didn’t want to come to Newcastle.

    The version from the North East was that we missed out. The version from North London was we were never in it.

  • 2 Spoof // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    I really do hope that we improve our injury record now that we have a new set up, we have this lad, Dummett, Haidara, De Jong, Elliott and Aarons who are all spending to much time in the treatment room, there may a player or two amongst them who one or two of us don’t like but that’s just our own opinion, from the clubs point of view we need them back to bolster the squad.

  • 3 martoon // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    Wasn’t he mentioned in a recent court case when Rolando Aarons and him were in bed with some girl – obviously nothing wrong with is fitness then 😀

  • 4 WWSBRD // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:24 AM

    It’s all whispers mate, Spurs would want it out that he only ever had eyes for them and Newcastle that they just missed out but it’s true (as far as am aware) that NUFC were far down the negotiations stage with Alli

  • 5 Charlie in the Gallowgate // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:25 AM

    To many players from this country and abroad don’t want to come to the North East think it is still dirty and grimy from the heavy industries.

    Think the Streets of London are paved with gold and many would rather rot in the second team than play first team football.

    And if they do we have to pay over the odds.

  • 6 Ian Toon // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:33 AM

    8SUTTY1978 // Jul 25, 2016 at 8:11 AM

    Problem is that Colback could put in 100% effort every week sun rain or snow but he will never win you the game.”

    Sutty- I would point out that not for the first time you’re shooting from the lip and making the facts fit your story line. There are limits of objectivity and the relationship between facts and opinions. I frequently praise Jack Colback who for me he is one of our most underrated players- but not by successive managers.

    Anyway Sutty- Clearly you don’t remember Pardew’s last game as our manager. It was on 28th December 2014 and a 3-2 win v Everton! Jack scored our third goal.

  • 7 Ian Toon // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:37 AM

    Belfast – I’ll catch you on the way back.

  • 8 martoon // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    Charlie @5 – I suppose that works both ways. If you were going to work in Italy you would probably prefer Milan or Rome rather than some industrial Town in the far North of Italy!

  • 9 John Tudor // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:41 AM

    turin next to the ski-ing martoon

  • 10 Spoof // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:49 AM

    Florence for me, never been but from what I have heard about the place it would be a dream, don’t know which is the nearest football team mind, probably Fiorentina

  • 11 Bobbybee // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:49 AM

    People seem to forget that Rafa didn’t rate Gini that highly anyway, which is why he dropped him. Sissoko, on the other hand, he made captain and does rate highly. That might be why he was willing to let him go and not so keen to let Sissoko go. He might still have to let Sissoko go, but if he does, whoever gets him will pay through the nose. We’re no longer the attraction we once were, being relegated, so this is where a good manager is worth his salt. He’s our main attraction right now, we have to trust him and let him do his job.

    Ian, I watched the Spurs game back the other day to cheer myself up. 😉 Colback, although not mentioned much, dominated the midfield; winnung the ball and laying it off simply, or making a perfect long pass. Very underrated in my eyes.

  • 12 Wayayman // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:58 AM

    <artoon@5, Milan is for the most part an industrial city in the far north…

  • 13 JamesToon // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:58 AM


    Honestly can’t understand that there’s still this myth about how the south is filled with bright lights and fine wines in London whereas the north is grim. I love just outside of Bournemouth, supposedly one of the safest and nicest places in England. I can honestly say Newcastle is just as much as a nice place as bmouth is if not better. As someone who doesn’t live on Tyneside, I can honestly say I prefer it so much to Bournemouth, not just cos of United, but it’s so easy and accessible to get around, the nightlife is great, so much more locals who are so much more friendlier than the people you generally get in the south, honestly. The toon is just a really nice looking city, and it completely defies the myth about the north is grim

  • 14 Wayayman // Jul 25, 2016 at 9:58 AM

    Is anyone else heading to Southend tomorrow night? Me and my sone are going, tickets are available on the night apparently

  • 15 SUTTY1978 // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:00 AM

    Ian Toon, the fact that you have to go back 2 years kind of proves my point. I don’t see any team coming in and offering £25m for him, the fact that there’s not even a sniff of interest in him being reported tells you what other managers and scouts think of him.
    Anyway, Colback may well find his level and have a good season in the championship.
    Oh and being picked by Pardew, Carver and Tufty is not what I would call a ringing endorsement.

  • 16 SUTTY1978 // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:03 AM

    Wayayman indeed, Milan is the Italian answer to Boro

  • 17 Wayayman // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:03 AM

    Jamestoon, I’m married to a well-travelled Londoner. She absolutely loves Newcastle, so much so that she wanted us to move there a few years back before the kids were at school. It is though always at least 5degrees C colder than London

  • 18 martoon // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:04 AM

    Bobbybee – I think Colback is a bit of a marmite player 🙂
    I personally rate him. Maybe you don’t see it as much on TV but he gets through a lot of work winning the ball and passing. Yes he is never going to do Hollywood 50 yard passes or dribbling past 5 players HBA style but you need his type of player in a team.

  • 19 martoon // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:08 AM

    OK guys, I hold my hand up, maybe Milan wasn’t the best example but I think you get the point I was trying to make!

  • 20 jimmysmith // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:10 AM

    He rated Widjnaldum at 25 million, and Ritchie at 10.

  • 21 Bobbybee // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:19 AM

    I like his workrate martoon, never stops. I was at the Spurs game and just thought he’d done ok. The other day i watched the recording back, specifically to watch Colback, and was shocked just how well he played without being noticed. He’ll shine in the Championship imo.

  • 22 The overrated Frenchman // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:22 AM

    Colback will do well in the Championship, and that’s where he should stay. Forever.

  • 23 Bobbybee // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:24 AM

    Your marmite point to a t martoon! 😉

  • 24 Ian Toon // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:26 AM

    You’re doing it again! You conveniently leave out Rafa to make your case. He was selected by him when available because he gives 100% and his 100% is frequently worth more to the team than the % offered by many others.

  • 25 clinath@ed // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    The grafters will always be under appreciated while the flair one adored.

  • 26 jimmysmith // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:30 AM

    If we do make it to the top 8, which realistically I suppose is where Rafa thinks we should be, then Colback will probably be there, in the squad.

  • 27 Slank // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    Charlie @ 5

    I don’t believe that analogy about London and the North East.

    London is attractive because it’s arguably the greatest capital city in the world with a very large ethnic mix which is very welcoming for foreign players and especially for their families who need good international schools and facilities especially accessible worldwide flights from Heathrow and Gatwick and not forgetting the Eurostar to Europe.

    Manchester and Liverpool attract some of the very best players in the world but these cities are definitely not the most attractive in the UK which is probably why so many football families live in Cheshire and Lancashire.

    Sometimes the attractions of a players home surroundings can far outweigh the attractions elsewhere. Didn’t Shearer turn down ManU for his homeland and thereby miss out on a bag full of trophies ?

  • 28 SUTTY1978 // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:38 AM

    Ian, we got dominated in the middle of the park by nearly every team we played last year. Colback’s General play is
    1. Run 30 yards towards opposition player with ball
    2. Stop 2 yards in front of said opposition player
    3. Dance a little jig to try and put said player off their game
    4. Watch player ghost round you or pass to a team mate
    5. Repeat steps 1-4

    In all fairness he does mix it up from time to time by replacing step 4 with “needlessly foul player (preferably within shooting distance) and earn yellow card”

  • 29 southeast magpie // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:40 AM

    @Wayayman Any ideas where the away fans are sitting? Just had a look and plenty of spare seats in the ground at the mo. Wondering whether to order tickets online now for the home section or try for the away section on the night.

  • 30 Jib // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:42 AM

    Oh dear Sutty
    I hope you don’t have a season ticket
    What a waste that would be
    You clearly have no idea what you are watching

  • 31 The overrated Frenchman // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:42 AM

    Nothing wrong with grafters, every team needs a couple. But there are useful grafters, and then there are largely pointless type grafters, who really don’t do anything well. They just graft. “I graft, therefore I am”

  • 32 jimmysmith // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:43 AM

    hahaha@28, great post, a bit harsh, but rings true. Colback is a water carrier, who would do well in a better side, but wouldn’t hold down a regular place in a very good one, I think.

  • 33 Spoof // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:44 AM

    I’m not Colback’s biggest fan, yes he works hard and his committment cannot be questioned but for me he is just slightly lacking, remember the early stages last season with him and Anita as our holding midfield pair, they were shocking and we were far too easily pushed back and put into a defend at all costs situation, for me in that area of the pitch you need a real powerhouse, a strong tackler which is why I adore Tiote as he is that man, but you don’t need two Tiote’s which allows for a more creative partner which is why Tiote and Cabaye were so good together, and due to what we saw of Colback when alongside Anita it to be was obvious that Colback just isn’t quite good enough for the Tiote role and he certainly isn’t creative enough for the Cabaye role either, as a squad player who could fill in for either of the anchor men roles they yes, similar to what Guthrie did for us for a while but for me Colback shouldn’t be in the first 11.

    I am looking forward to seeing Isaac Hayden with the hope that he could eventually take the Tiote role which could allow us to see the best of Shelvey as Shelvey will get stuck in but can offer quite a bit going forward, personally I would start with Tiote and Shelvey whilst hoping that Hayden could replace Tiote, I have to admit that I haven’t seen Hayden play so I don’t know if he could replace Tiote, I haven’t even seen the friendlies this year so I am totally ignorant to how he plays, but I am looking forward to finding out.

  • 34 SUTTY1978 // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:45 AM

    Jib, enlighten me, oh font of footballing knowledge. Without using the phrase “gives 100%” tell me what he does for the team?

  • 35 The overrated Frenchman // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:47 AM

    SUTTY1978 – You might have added: “when gets ball, routinely passes sideways, or backwards, or is dispossessed”

  • 36 SUTTY1978 // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:48 AM

    Spoof, good summation. Basically he’s a Jack of all trades, master of none. Quite fitting.

  • 37 Rotonda heights // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:52 AM

    Colback does need to cut out constantly giving daft and dangerous free kicks away though, a la Tiote. I do remember JC having one storming game against Chelsea at home, maybe the season before last I think and thought he was a player, but I never saw him reproduce the form he showed that day.

  • 38 Spoof // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:53 AM


    but I would still keep him to cover, I’ve mentioned my preferred pairing but in case of injury or suspension then he could do a job there, but as I said I personally don’t see him as being good enough to be first choice which is a shame in a way as his attitude and work ethic are superb, but you also need ability and for me he is just shy on that count, but I would not get rid.

  • 39 Ian Toon // Jul 25, 2016 at 10:55 AM

    As fans we see what we want to see when watching the toon. It’s personified on Ed’s excellent blog. We’ve got the angry fan who finds tribal belongings; the pessimist who sees steady decline and fall; the optimist highlights progress in each new formation, idea or change; the sympathetic fan feels every blow and disappointment ; the rationalist wonders how the blur of illogical thinking endures.

    Thanks for the craic one and all.

  • 40 Nufc-83 // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:01 AM

    Not seen much of Pritchard but just done the Dennis Wise scouting method and he looks a great little player. Low centre of gravity when going past people almost runs identically to Hazard. His free kicks look awsome aswell as his finishing but as i said its from youtube so cant take much from it.

  • 41 Nufc-83 // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:04 AM

    Spoof i would agree with what you say in 32. I think its still likely Tiote will be away so i think hayden will come in and take that role alongside Shelvey. We still need a creative central attacker imo and possibly a winger especially if Thauvin leaves (although I have a feeling he may stay). Pritchard (based on youtube 🙂 looks like he could be an awesome cam.

  • 42 SUTTY1978 // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    Spoof, I don’t want to get rid of him, this originally started because I said I’d want Wijnaldum in the team over a grafter like Colback, then I just pointed out that not one single team has made an approach for him. As you say he’s good at filling gaps for injuries but shouldn’t be in the starting XI.
    I’m sure everyone can remember the odd good game he’s had but that’s not really enough is it?

  • 43 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:10 AM

    When it comes to DM, both Colback and Anita can play there…. just not together. Some have already said you need a Tiote in there. Anita has a very tidy passing game, and i prefer him to colback as the partner to Tiote or whoever plays as the combative DM. Anita, Dummet and Colback are all useful utility players who should definitely remain in the squad imo. I never feel panic when they have to play for whatever reason (well, maybe a bit with colback). Ideally they are not regular starters,of course.

  • 44 martoon // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:11 AM

    Like I said earlier Colback is a bit of marmite player!
    All players have bad games but I generally find if you are at the match and watch him closely he gets through a lot of graft and wins the ball back quite a lot. Admittedly some of his fouls in dangerous areas are stupid and unnecessary but hopefully Rafa will have a word in his ear about them.

  • 45 jayphoto // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:19 AM

    Colback for me Is a premier league standard squad player. Not sure he is good enough to warrant a starting spot in a top 10 team but he is tidy and works hard.
    He is far too good for the championship in my opinion, hes one of those players that if he stays that will expose the difference in quality between the premier league and championship! Dummett is another I expect to look like one of the better players in the league next year

  • 46 Nufc-83 // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:24 AM

    Youcouldntmakeitup When you say Anita has a tidy passing game i presume you are reffering to his 3-4yrd balls backwards and sideways? He has no real range of passing which is a big problem for him as he offers very little else. When he is really on his game and seems to be timing his tackles well he is a good player as he has good pace and is bit like a poor mans Kante (even a poor mans Kante is a good player though). The problem is he often does not have a game in whcih he constantly wins the ball and if often left wanting due to his size and strength.

  • 47 Nufc-83 // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    Jayphoto how can you say that Dummett will look like a top player in the Chamionship i really dont get that. I understand you could say he will be really solid defensively and so will not give wingers much room but he will still be a utter gargabe when he recieves the ball and will likely lump it forward to nobody.

  • 48 jayphoto // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    In every club benitez has ever managed, hes used a deep lying playmaker as one of the midfield 2, in a 4-2-3-1. Hes done that everywhere, used modric at Madrid in that role, Alonso at Liverpool etc Always a player with passing range, vision etc, Always next to a high energy tackling monster. (was momo sissoko at Liverpool and then Lucas I think?) No reason to think he won’t do this at Newcastle too since its the 1 constant in his managerial career. For me this means Shelvey as hes the only player we have like that. Possibly next to Tiote if he stays, Colback if he doesn’t?

  • 49 Spoof // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:28 AM


    Is Anita’s passing tidy though, forget about % as they are meaningless but when I watch Anita is short balls, back balls and square balls, very rarely does he make a forward pass and when he does if it’s further than twenty yards then it rarely finds a Newcastle player, watch him and then watch Shelvey and see the difference, when Anita gets the ball the first thing he does is too look square and then behind, Shelvey gets the ball and his head is up looking for a forward pass as quick as possible to get us attacking, Anita rarely does that which was one of the reasons why he and Colback were so dreadful as a pairing, they just couldn’t/wouldn’t try to get us going forward, sorry but for me Anita in midfield is dreadful and his forward passing is virtually non existent.

  • 50 Spoof // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:32 AM


    read @32

  • 51 Spoof // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:37 AM


    I think you will be right but due to not knowing if Hayden is a suitable replacement, I don’t know Hayden’s game and I don’t know if he would be good enough then allowing Tiote to go would be a huge gamble, if we had signed Leiva from Liverpool then yes I could see an exit for Tiote, but we haven’t so unless we get a similar type in then I hope that Tiote stays.

  • 52 jayphoto // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:39 AM

    @Nufc83 – Because there are so many players like Dummett that look like great players at that level. I don’t think his attacking attributes will be exposed because Rafa doesn’t really encourage attacking full backs anyway, similarly Gamez rarely crosses the halfway line as a player unless its to take a throw in! Dummett is decent defensively and I think that will be emphasised when playing against lesser players

  • 53 martoon // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:43 AM

    I have to say while I like Colback and Anita at fullback I do agree with other posters that they just don’t work playing together in midfield. Probably for the reasons Spoof @48 said. It’s hard to say our best midfield 2 but probably Tiote & Shelvey with Hayden knocking on the door – hmmm I’ve just dropped Colback!!!!

  • 54 jayphoto // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:45 AM

    @spoof – I really hope tiote stays, on his day, when fit, for me hes probably our most affective player at his best. A fit consistant tiote is a champions league level player for me. The key with him is the role he plays and the job hes given. Hes one player I could see Benitez getting a tune out of. Not being funny but tiote would eat most championship level CM for breakfast.

  • 55 hibbitt // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:45 AM

    the players / teams in the championship aren’t as bad / poor as a lot of posters think
    people seem to think we are way above everyone else in the league were not

  • 56 Nufc-83 // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:47 AM

    Jay I do get what your saying but hopefully we will be mostly attacking in the coming season and should be the team trying to unlock the opposition. If Dummett cant contribute to that attack effectively then it will cause problems in my opinion as often the full backs are the position in which recieve the most space on the pitch. I also do not understand the Theory that Rafa does not like to play with attacking full backs as didnt he have Riise at Liverpool who was extremely attacking?

  • 57 jayphoto // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:57 AM

    @Nufc-83 He did, but he also favoured Fabio Aurelio when he was fit (though that wasn;t often)
    Please get confused with riise because of the goals, but he rarely ever overlapped the winger under rafa.

  • 58 outside the box // Jul 25, 2016 at 11:57 AM

    i expect rafa to build from the back starting with solid defense
    mbemba lascelles hanley dummett
    with hayden and shelvey playing in front of them
    and wouldn,t be surprised to see janmatt perez and ritchie behind gayle for fulham game

  • 59 Wayayman // Jul 25, 2016 at 12:16 PM


    Yep, I’ve just ‘spoken’ to Southend FC via Twitter and they said we can pay on the night for the away end ( also say this on the ‘ticket’s section) Prices are £15 adults, £8 young adults and £4 junior

  • 60 Spoof // Jul 25, 2016 at 12:17 PM


    it’s not our opponents who frighten me as I disagree with you as I do feel that it is a poor, very poor league and I honestly do feel that any half decent side would get out of this league quite easily, but that is where I have the problem because I am not convinced that we have a half decent side, the side that we had wasn’t good enough for the PL which is why we went down and what I am seeing is with Townsend, Gini and probably Sissoko and perhaps even Janmaat, Krul and Tiote is the beeter players we had leaving and being replaced by Ritchie, Hayden, Hanley and Gayle who from how I look at it have been bought due to having Championship experience which is fine but how did they do when in the Championship, yeah not bad but they hardly tore it up and my fear is that we aren’t as good as some may think at this particular time, hopefully a bit more quality will come and if it does then we should be ok as this is a very poor league.

  • 61 ToonRich // Jul 25, 2016 at 12:46 PM

    @ Spoof and jayphoto… Guys, Hayden for me looks a complete player and could easily be a step up from Tiote, that’s assuming Rafa bought him for that role!

    Jay – “Gamez rarely crosses the halfway line as a player unless its to take a throw in!”
    Are you having a laugh…he makes numerous forward runs as he did at Doncaster. It’s one of his assest getting forward and overlapping to the byline!

  • 62 funlovingexpress // Jul 25, 2016 at 1:19 PM

    Colback doesnt score enough, cant or wont tackle in positions which could open up the opposition, cant dribble past a player, is rubbish at free kicks, isnt very fast and his movement off the ball leaves a lot to be desired.

    He also has no vision. Gini was 10 times the midfielder.

    Colback wont be going for 25 million. I wonder why

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