NEWCASTLE boss Alan Pardew hopes Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s leadership qualities come to the fore this season.
The defender – who skippered former club Montpellier – captained Newcastle in Tuesday night’s 4-2 win over Motherwell.
And Pardew is confident that the January signing will become a strong voice on and off the pitch now he can speak English.
“He’s a leader,” Pardew said.
“That hasn’t really come out so far because of the language barrier, but you can see why he has been a captain at other clubs.
“I wanted to reflect that.”
Yanga-Mbiwa played across the back four in the latter months of last season.
And the versatility of the 24-year-old, having adjusted to the pace and power of English football, will be a strength to the Tynesiders over the coming months.
“I think he could be an important player for us,” added Pardew, whose team face Rio Ave in Portugal on Saturday.