Date: 19 January 2017 10:08
The skilful youngster, who has doubled for the likes of the Real Madrid No.7 and Neymar, made his full debut for the Magpies earlier this week
Yasin Ben El-Mhanni previously set the internet ablaze with some brilliant trickery, and on Wednesday the prodigious Newcastle United youngster made his professional debut for the club.
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Aged 21, the winger was playing in the Isthmian League Division One South less than a year ago, for Lewes, but he gained internet fame for his body-double skills.
The youngster has stood in for Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Neymar in advertisements for football boots, and his skills have seen him compared with Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez in recent weeks.
So incredible are his skills that he would have to teach both Neymar and Ronaldo to copy him!
Mental that Yasin Ben El-Mhanni was in my IT class in college a couple of years ago & now tonight he's starting for Newcastle. Awesome that!— Josh Hawkins (@JoshHawkins96) January 18, 2017
“I've doubled for Neymar, I've doubled for Cristiano Ronaldo and done their skills on camera, which was great,” he says on the club's official website.
“It was mind-blowing, really, to see people that you look up to on the pitch, and meet them in real life, in person. It gives you something to aspire to.
“I had to show them how to do a set of tricks. The directors would tell me what tricks to do, and I'd have to demonstrate it to them. Then they'd have to do it themselves.”
El-Mhanni has been plying his trade for the Magpies' Under-23 side this term, scoring once in eight Premier League 2 games, and he is highly rated at Newcastle, who beat Chelsea to his signature.
Unbelievable experience to make my full debut at St.James Park, amazing support from the fans, appreciated very much. Glad to get the win... Howay the lads! God is Great!
The Chronicle quote youth coach Peter Beardsley saying: “He’s got unbelievable ability. I would say, without being negative, he needs to learn the game.
“By that I mean going forward he’ll never have a problem because he’s got brilliant talent, but obviously he needs to know when to defend, when to help, when to get himself organised but a great kid.
“He’s come in and he’s embraced everything we’ve tried to do and we’re enjoying having him. If I’m being honest I can’t take any credit for bringing him in.
“Steve Nickson [head of recruitment] and his recruitment staff are the reason he’s here, and fair play to them because he’s obviously got a talent which they saw and we’re just trying to enhance that and make it better.”
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El-Mhanni credits his upbringing in London for his skills, as he would hone his trickery on the concrete of the nation’s capital.
Speaking to the Daily Mail in July, the same month in which he signed his professional contract at St James’ Park, the youngster said: “Street football gives you the chance to learn and teach myself things rather than being coached.”
“I was basically learning from YouTube, watching matches and players like Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi, Robinho and Cristiano Ronaldo, trying to interpret what they do.
“Growing up on the streets, everything is just war. Everything is right, so you just do it.”