Kevin Mbabu discusses Newcastle spell and reacts to Arsenal and Manchester United interest
Kevin Mbabu has opened up on his disappointing spell with Newcastle United as he continues to excel in the Champions League.
The Swiss defender has been shining light for Young Boys during their Champions League campaign this season, and has been linked with a move to Manchester United after a string of fine performances.
Such strong form may come a surprise after Mbabu's lack of game time at St James's Park, which saw him farmed out on loan to Young Boys before completing a permanent move in 2017.
But while speaking to Neue Zürcher Zeitung in his homeland, the full-back has revealed why he is grateful for his spell on Tyneside - even if it ultimately proved to be an unsuccessful one.
Mbabu believes the physical and mental challenges posed by English football have helped him progress his career at a rate of knots.
And he also confirmed that Newcastle weren't alone in their desire to sign him when he left Switzerland as a teenager.
“I was not yet 18, and left Geneva [Servette] for Newcastle," he said.
I also rejected Arsenal. England was not a success for me, but I learned a lot there.
“The experience of that time is part of what has become of me. The experience of the past is part of me.
"The choice of Newcastle was not very good. But it helps me today.
“Mentally, I was tested enormously. I was injured in England for almost two of the three and a half years, and I had muscle problems all the time. Six, seven injuries.
“Physically, my body wasn’t ready for the intensity in Newcastle training. I did not have the best lifestyle and was too busy with too many things.
“These can be reasons for injuries. Today I try not to repeat the mistakes. Development shows me that I am not on the wrong track.”
Now, Mbabu has been linked with a Premier League return - with Manchester United one of several clubs thought to be keen on a move for him.
And the 23-year-old would be interested in a return to English football, but isn't hanging all his hopes on a move.
“My dream is to return to the Premier League," he admitted.
"But in life, sometimes it does not work the way you want. Every way is different."