Mbeumo is key man for club and country

football20 November 2023 15:00
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Mbeumo @ Getty Images

One of the star names among African players in Europe this season has been that of Bryan Mbeumo, with the Cameroon international tearing up the English Premier League with his goals and assists as a left-footed winger who prefers to play on the right.

In the long-term absence of the suspended Ivan Toney, someone had to step up in west London and the 24-year-old Mbeumo has been the perfect candidate.

He has continued that form into the international window too, netting the opening goal for the Indomitable Lions in their 3-0 victory over Mauritius as they got their bid to reach the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada under way.

Mbeumo’s father was born in Cameroon while his mother is French, and he was himself born in Avallon in central France.

Ge played junior football for the country of his birth, but a meeting with Cameroon Football Federation president Samuel Eto’o in August last year persuaded Mbeumo that his senior international future lay with the African nation.

He made his Cameroon debut in a 2-0 loss to Uzbekistan in September 2022, an inauspicious start, and has won three caps before playing for the side at the World Cup in Qatar.

He started all three games, including the 1-0 victory over Brazil, and since then has only grown in stature.

“It was an amazing experience, something I always dreamed of. It's hard to find the words for how I felt. It's just something every footballer wants to do," he told his club’s website.


He has three goals in 13 caps to date, but this is just the beginning for a player who will be key to getting to Cameroon to the World Cup should they make it.

Mbeumo joined the academy of French club Troyes as a 14-year-old and made his senior debut in Ligue 1 against Metz in February 2018.

The club was relegated at the end of the season, but that may have been a blessing in disguise for Mbeumo’s career, as the cleanout of their more experienced players that followed gave him the opportunity to shine.

He was a regular in the following Ligue 2 campaign and proved a star man for the club, netting 10 goals in 31 starts, catching the eye of several teams.

It tempted then English Championship side Brentford to make him their record signing at £5.8-million ahead of the 2019/20 season and he was an instant hit.

Mbeumo scored 16 goals in 39 starts in the Championship, though that season would end in disappointment as The Bees lost the play-off final.

Twelve months on they were in the decider again, and this time triumphed to earn their place in the Premier League, with the winger a central figure again.

He has continued that form in the elite league finishing last season strongly and starting this campaign in the same way.

He has, perhaps, benefitted from having the stability of Thomas Frank as his coach for his entire stay in London.

“That’s the joy of working with people,” Frank said. “It’s difficult to see from week to week, but when you work with a player (Mbeumo) for four years and look back you really see his improvement in terms of being a better finisher.

“He is becoming more of a leader, driving training sessions, pushing the team and growing as a person. He is an extremely important player and a fantastic person to work with.”