Newcastle defender claims he’s growing as a player at AS Roma

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Currently on a season-long loan at the Stadio Olimpico, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has heaped praise on Rudi Garcia for helping him raise his game.

Deemed surplus to requirement by Alan Pardew and Newcastle United this season, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa believes he is improving as a player at current club AS Roma.

The 25-year-old defender, who moved to the Magpies from Montpellier for £8.5 million in January 2013, departed St James’ Park for Serie A in a season-long loan deal that was agreed in the final hours of the summer transfer window.

Since then Newcastle have struggled to cope defensively while the one-time France international has gone from strength to strength for his new club.

The Toon did pick up their first win of the season on Saturday against Leicester City but that 1-0 triumph was the first time in seven games that the team has managed to keep a clean sheet.

Yanga-Mbiwa, meanwhile, has helped Roma keep three clean sheets in the five games in which he has featured for the club, including a 3-0 triumph over Chievo at the weekend that helped the Giallorossi close the gap on Serie A leaders Juventus to just one point.

And speaking after the game in quotes carried by the Chronicle, the 25-year-old was keen to single out Roma boss Rudi Garcia for praise.

"I know him from his time coaching at Lille and he likes to play football in a good way with the team playing out from defence which suits me, and that is why it is a pleasure to play for him as he makes the team feel at ease," he said.

"I feel I can really grow a lot as a player under him."

Yanga-Mbiwa could feature for against Bayern Munich this week, with the Romans due to meet the Bundesliga champions at the Stadio Olimpico tonight.

And with the Frenchman enjoying his football and competing regularly in the Champions League, a permanent move to Italy could be on the cards.

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