Foreign stints improved me, claims Lyon's Yanga-Mbiwa

Having secured a return to Ligue 1, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa says he is a better player for his experiences playing abroad.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa feels differing spells at Newcastle United and Roma have enabled him to grow as a player as he prepares to make his debut for new club Lyon.

The 26-year-old completed his return to Ligue 1 following a difficult time in the Premier League and a season-long loan stint at Serie A title-chasers Roma.

Former Montpellier defender Yanga-Mbiwa was a regular for Rudi Garcia's side despite struggling to establish himself at St James' Park and is confident his experiences abroad will serve him well at the Stade de Gerland.

"As a player, everyone wants to discover abroad," he told L'Equipe.

"In England I discovered new staff and also the impact of physical work, although my experience there did not totally work.

"In Rome it went better for me, I played a lot and I learned a lot with the coach Rudi Garcia. I hope to share my experience with my new team-mates at OL."

Yanga-Mbiwa could make his Lyon debut against Rennes on Saturday – Hubert Fournier's men having claimed their first victory of the season thanks to Claudio Beauvue's winner at Guingamp last weekend.

"I did not expect to came to OL. I'm really happy to be here, to be part of this project," he added.

"I will give 100 per cent. There is a lot of expectation around me [but] I will try to answer it and do good things here.

"At first, with my entourage, we thought it was simply a rumor. But the president and the coach were very convincing and we were forced to give way because this is a beautiful project. I'm really happy to be back in France."