It’s fair to say that for a long while, it seemed like Isaac Mbenza was going to be a very big flop at Huddersfield Town.
The forward, whom the club had spent a hefty £12m on in 2019 after a loan from Montpellier, wasn’t in Danny Cowley’s plans, and was eventually sent to Amiens SC on loan for the second half of the 2019-20 campaign.
That didn’t go all that well either, and when the time came to return to Huddersfield, Mbenza simply said no.
Speaking to DH.net about his resurgence under Carlos Corberán, the 25-year-old explained what happened over the summer.
He said: “At the beginning, they could have given me the number 10 and the captain’s armband, I would have said no because the trust was broken, but my agents and my family convinced to at least go back and talk. The new director of football called me to tell me he needed me and a new manager was coming in.
“But I had the impression to hear once more the same speech as the previous year. I wanted to wait for Anderlecht (who were interested at the time), but time passed, and the chances to join them were getting smaller. Then I met the new manager”.
Mbenza reveals Corberán asked him to ‘come back to training a week before anyone else’ and worked him hard.
He continued: “The first two days, I had 30 minute meetings, and then 14 video sessions in a week. I counted them. He wanted to show me that he believed in me and that I should stay. His speech to me even surprised the chairman, who didn’t really believe in me anymore because I’d cost the club a lot of money. Bit by bit, my doubts disappeared. I started the season on the bench, and as games went by, I started to find myself again”.
The tally, so far, is 32 appearances in the Championship, helping out with five goals and eight assists, which is on course to being one of the best seasons of his career.
While he doesn’t necessarily have any hope of being in Roberto Martínez’s squad for the upcoming Euros, the 16 time capped Belgium U21 international still believes he can get himself in the first-team at some point in his career.
Whether that’s via him remaining at Huddersfield or going somewhere else, however, only time will tell.