Departing Newcastle United defender: "My time in the Premier League was a mistake"

St James Park

Centre back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa joined Roma from Newcastle United this week, and the Frenchman has been reflecting on his time in England.

Yanga-Mbiwa, 25, was a key part of the Montpellier side that went on a stunning run to win the Ligue 1 title in 2012, and subsequently attracted interest from a number of clubs off the back of those displays. However, it was Newcastle who added Yanga-Mbiwa to their ever growing group of French players back in January 2013, paying £8.5m to bring him to St. James' Park.

With three French caps, Yanga-Mbiwa was highly rated but struggled to settle in the Premier League. With Magpies boss Alan Pardew favouring a centre back pairing of Fabrizio Coloccini and Mike Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa often found himself either out of the team or at right back. Now though, he's on the move again as Roma - led by manager Rudi Garcia, who recently managed in France with Lille - have swooped to take Yanga-Mbiwa on loan for the season, with an option to buy him for £4.5m in a year's time.

Expected to help replace Mehdi Benatia alongside the likes of Leandro Castan, Davie Astori and Kostas Manolas, Yanga-Mbiwa has the chance to prove himself in Italy - and he wants to win trophies at the Stadio Olimpico, with Roma one of the favourites for the Serie A title this season.

"Rudi Garcia convinced me to come here. He wants to win trophies, and I’m also hungry for victories. I want to win with Roma," said Yanga-Mbiwa. "I’m very happy to be here, to give something extra to the team. The coach knows me, and I want to give so much to this club. We have a great squad that will do anything to win."

After the frustration of being played at right back, Yanga-Mbiwa made it clear to Garcia that he would prefer to play in the centre of defence - even if he may well be used as cover for Maicon.

"I’ll do what I can to help the coach and the team. Primarily, I’m a central defender. Right-back? I can play there, but central defence is my position. Garcia knows what I can bring to the team. I’m ready to do my best, and make the starting shirt my own."

Finally, Yanga-Mbiwa took time to reflect on his time in the Premier League. He believes that his move to the North East was a mistake, and that he's ready to prove how good he is in Italy, where he thinks the style of football better suits his game.

"In England, things didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. They have a different style of play. Here (in Italy) we use the ball more, just like in France. I’m here to show that my time in the Premier League was just a mistake," he said.

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