SWISS starlet Kevin Mbabu is hoping he can make an impression on Newcastle United’s first team next season.
The teenager just joined the Magpies in January and has only played a handful of games for the Under-21 side.
But the defender is determined to realise a ‘dream’ of playing Premier League football, and believes he has a great chance of achieving that ambition at St James’s Park.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has a history of giving youth a chance, both at previous clubs - he gave Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain his debut aged just 16 at Southampton - and at United, where he has blooded the likes of Sammy Ameobi and Adam Campbell.
And that has given 18-year-old Mbabu belief that he’s at the right club.
“Alan Pardew gives young players a chance,” he said. “You only have to look at Adam Campbell to see that, others too.
“That shows that the manager has confidence in the younger players.
“It was my dream to play in the Premier League and for an English club.
“Newcastle were always a team I admired.
“When they came back in the Premier League a few years ago I always took an interest in them because they have so many supporters.
“I was so happy to sign here.”
Mbabu, who can operate at right-back or centre-half, had to bide his time before he could take to the pitch after his move from Servette in January for a reported £500,000.
Just 17 when he signed, he needed a special licence before he could play for the second string, but ended up making seven appearances before the season ended.
And he says the club, and fans, have helped him adapt so quickly to life on Tyneside.
“It has been good to settle in so quickly and get some reserve team games,” he added. “For me it has been great.
“And playing the home games in the Under-21s has been very special for me because so many Newcastle fans have given me a great welcome.
“Ever since I signed I wanted to play straight away.
“I had to wait a couple of months to get a licence to play because I was under 18, but I have that now.
“I really enjoyed it and am happy to be a Newcastle player.”