Scouting the loan signings from Newcastle Pt. 2

Kevin Mbabu, courtesy of NUFC

Kevin Mbabu, defender

19 years old.  Born in Switzerland, Mbabu has yet to feature for Newcastle’s first team.

Ed Harrison, who runs The Newcastle United Blogshared his insight on Mbabu. “We signed Kevin Mbabu from Swiss club Servette two years ago and at the time he was 17 and very highly rated.”

“He’s a hard tackling defender and much is expected of him on Tyneside and he’s played for all of the Swiss Youth sides through U19.  He’s been playing for our U18 and U21 sides but he really needs to get first team games out on loan, and he should be very good for you at Rangers, as either a full back or a center-back.”

Robert Bishop, the managing editor for Coming Home Newcastle, added – “When Newcastle purchased Kevin Mbabu, he was 17 and his profile was ‘midfielder who can also play defence.’ Now he’s a ‘centre back who can play on the right.'”

“It’s a role change that he’s reportedly adapted well to, and in October he expressed his desire for first team action, whether in Newcastle or elsewhere. Even with Newcastle’s shaky back four, the consensus seems to be that he’s too young (19) to throw in the deep end, despite the success of his friend Rolando Aarons.”

“I’m not sure what Rangers’ needs are, but I hope he gets tested in a big way, because the future is bright for him. The only major concern is injuries. He recently had to come back from a groin problem, and it was his second extended absence in as many years.”

Kevin Mbabu

Matt Feltzwho writes for I wish I was a Geordiediscussed Mbabu’s injuries. “He’s never been close to getting into the Newcastle first team. The main reason appears to be injuries.”

“This past April, the Shields Gazette wrote a piece on him which discussed his long layoffs with hamstring and ankle injuries during the 2013-14 season. And then he didn’t make his debut in the current campaign until October because of a groin injury. He also seems to have picked up another undisclosed injury shortly before being loaned to Rangers.”

“You would think he’s got something about him because of his inclusion in all of the Swiss youth international teams, but he’s barely even played for Newcastle’s reserves because he’s constantly been hurt.”


Shane Ferguson, courtesy of William Cherry (Presseye)

Shane Ferguson, midfielder/left back

23 years old.  Ferguson has earned 18 caps for Northern Ireland & has scored one goal.  Despite his international experience, he has failed to crack the Newcastle lineup since January 2013.  He spent much of last season on loan with Birmingham City.  He made 27 appearances there, which included 16 starts.  He failed to score but did contribute six assists.  He managed only seven shots in the 27 appearances, with only one being on target.  

Harrison wrote, “He has a great left foot and is a very good technical player.  About three years ago he was one of the brightest youngsters at the club and he can play at left back, left wing or left wing back.  But at the start of last season he was loaned out to Birmingham for the season and while he played for the first team during the first half of the season, he couldn’t even get on the subs bench later in the season – and that raised some eyebrows on Tyneside.”

“So we’’re not sure what’s happened with Shane, and since he returned to Newcastle we haven’t heard much of him.   He’s still considered  a very talented player.”

Bishop added, “Shane Ferguson was once upon a time the heir apparent to Jonas Gutièrrez, a defensively-minded left winger who could put in a cross and fill in at left back if needed.”

“He was never really preferred by Alan Pardew, however, and spent two seasons on loan with Birmingham City. It was a natural fit there, since Lee Clark coached Ferguson in the Newcastle reserves, but Ferguson struggled his second time through.”

“The Birmingham fans I talked to used words like ‘anonymous’ and ‘inconsistent.'”

“With the emergence of much more seasoned options at both left wing and left back, his best chance at a career renaissance is probably to play well enough at Rangers to be noticed. He’s still immensely talented, but needs to showcase it week in and week out.”

Feltz:  “Ferguson, on the other hand, is a more straightforward case.  First, the good: when he first broke into the squad, he looked like a decent attacking left back. He’s got a nice left-footed delivery and is pretty quick and tricky.”

“The problem is that he’s also extremely slightly built and isn’t great on the defensive side of the ball. And since he debuted at the end of the 2010-11 season, Newcastle signed a parade of left backs, pushing him further and further down the pecking order.”

“So it was always likely that he would end up elsewhere eventually, and his future is likely as a left winger instead of a left back.”

He added, “A funny Ferguson anecdote: Newcastle had complete laughingstock Joe Kinnear as its director of football for the first half of last season.”

“As part of his duties, he went to watch a Birmingham-Swansea League Cup match to scout players. Apparently, he came away from the match thoroughly impressed with Ferguson’s performance for Birmingham.”

“So impressed, in fact, that he told some of the management that he was interested in signing him for Newcastle…not realizing that he was already a Newcastle player who we’d loaned to Birmingham for the year.”

courtesy of RFC

Footnote

Ed Harrison sent along an additional note after seeing scenes from the press conference on Tuesday.  “By the way you will find all five lads from Newcastle are really great characters and excellent professionals.  It would be great if they can help you win the playoffs and get back to the SPL this season.”

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