‘Nonchalant’ Kevin Mbabu on standby for Man City after Chelsea heroics

Kevin Mbabu
Kevin Mbabu

Kevin Mbabu saw off Pedro on his full Newcastle United debut – and Kevin De Bruyne could be his next opponent.

Right-footed Mbabu was drafted in to play at left-back against Chelsea at the weekend with Massadio Haidara and Paul Dummett sidelined.

Mbabu kept former Barcelona forward Pedro quiet in the 2-2 draw at St James’s Park.

And the 20-year-old could keep his place for Saturday’s Premier League game against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, where £54million man De Bruyne will be waiting.

Mbabu hadn’t made a competitive senior appearance for Newcastle before last week’s Capital One Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday.

But United head coach Steve McClaren felt Mbabu, signed from Swiss club Servette two and a half years ago, would be up to the task. It was funny because we were thinking what we play,” said McClaren. “He trained with us and we had an idea.

“We just asked him and he just nonchalantly said ‘yeah, I’ve played left-back’.

“Any problems? He went ‘no, no problems’. So I didn’t say he was, and he didn’t know until late. That always helps.

“He settled well. The crowd were fantastic – they really responded to him.”

Reflecting on his debut, Mbabu said: “It’s a really good feeling to play my first game in the league – it was an amazing experience.

“I was a little bit nervous, but once the game started everything was good.

Mbabu yesterday watched his Under-21 team-mates in action against Swansea City at Whitley Park.

Winger Rolando Aarons – who has missed Newcastle’s last two first-team matches with a knock – was also among the spectators.

Meanwhile, Haidara (knee) and Dummett (hamstring) are not expected to be back for the City game.