Albion midfielder excited by challenge to win back role
YOUSSOUF Mulumbu is ready to show Tony Pulis there is another “new signing” on the books despite the end of the transfer window.
Mulumbu is back from the Africa Cup of Nations brimming with pride having captained DR Congo to a third-placed finish in the tournament.
It was an emotional experience for the popular 28-year-old whose troubled homeland united behind the team’s banner and gave Mulumbu and his players a joyous reception upon their return.
But there was frustration too after injury prevented him playing as significant a role as he would have liked - and that could now work to his club’s benefit.
Pulis had barely started in his new job when Mulumbu flew off to the tournament after Albion’s new head coach had watched him play in the New Year’s Day draw at West Ham.
Mulumbu’s tournament out in Equatorial Guinea was wrecked by knee and groin injuries, and he admitted: “The injuries were hard for me to take out there.
“When I get injured playing for the club, I know the treatment is good and when I am going to come back.
“But out there it was ‘maybe you’re going to play the quarter’ and ‘maybe you’re going to play the semi-final.’ That was hard because you are part of the team but you can’t do anything; you feel useless. It is football but that was hard for me.
“It feels so good to tell you that I am fit, 100 per cent. I can start training now and am so looking forward to training under the new manager. I am looking forward to showing him who Youssouf Mulumbu is. He might know me from videos and stuff but it’s going to be different when I train with him.
“And now the team is doing really good. I want to fight for my position. I’m just excited about the rest of the season. It is a good and new challenge for me.
“After injury, maybe to come back, get on the bench and from there show what you can do and aim to keep my place in the team until the end of the season.
“But at the moment, the team is doing really good and we need to keep this momentum. I am fighting to get on the bench for the game against Sunderland. I have been out for a month with injury and I just can’t wait to get out on the pitch. That’s all I can say.”