Blues sign up Emmanuel Mbende

He’s got a lot of work to do and we’ll certainly spend some time to see if we can develop him further.

Gary Rowett
The 19-year-old has been training with Blues since last month after leaving German side Borussia Dortmund in the summer and has already figured in three development squad fixtures.

The powerful centre-half has signed up until the end of the 2015/16 campaign, but Blues boss Gary Rowett is hopeful he can continue to progress during his time in the second city and earn himself a longer deal.

“We’ve taken Emmanuel on a development contract,” said Rowett.

“We are always looking for areas in the U21s where we think perhaps we haven’t got someone like that for that type of position, unless you class Dom Bernard as centre-back, which I think physically at the minute he’s more suited to the full-back positions. 

“Maybe long-term he will potentially be a very good centre-back, but we haven’t really got anyone to play alongside Wes Harding.

“We’ve taken a bit of a gamble on Emmanuel just because of his physicality, his size. He’s a powerful boy about six feet four inches high and six feet four wide! 

“Obviously he’s got a good pedigree at Dortmund and really it’s just a case of us giving him an opportunity to see if we can push him into the first team group. 

“He’s not going to be one that goes straight into that category, he’s got a lot of work to do and we’ll certainly spend some time to see if we can develop him further.”

Mbende came through the ranks at Dortmund and left after seven years without making the breakthrough into the first team.

“The logistics of trying to do a deal for a player that has come from the youth ranks at a club elsewhere in Europe sometimes makes those deals difficult to get over the line so we’ve been working on it a couple of weeks now,” continued Rowett.

“Players like that if you can get them in and around the first team squad there always a market for them in terms of going out on loan to a lower league club to get some really good game experience or becoming one of the cover positions for us in one of the first team pushing to get in. 

“That will be down to Emmanuel. He’s prepared to work hard. He’s come in and he’s a really humble boy. He couldn’t play in one of the U21 games but has still travelled with the group. 

“He’s picking cones up; he’s handing water bottles out. And sometimes you see little bits like that, bits of character and a real humble boy and he’s also done really well on the pitch when he’s trained.

“It’s just until the end of the season. You get a little window of some three or four months where they ask to come in and show you what they’ve got. 

“Therefore there is not much of a gamble from our point of view and it’s an opportunity for the player. 

“If he continues to show the promise that he has at 19, then certainly there is a longer future for him here. 

“As I said before, we are trying to strengthen that group and to put little bits of foundation in place for hopefully being a better Club moving forward.”