Many Newcastle United fans have went through a merry-go-round of emotions when it comes to Alan Pardew. For large parts of last season, he made strange selections for his starting line-ups, and often made even stranger substitutions. Some fans argued that more technical players were having to spend some time on the bench, while other less able players were starting week in, week out.
One of the players whom the fans were frustrated not to see more of last season was Vurnon Anita. The Dutch man signed for Newcastle United from Ajax in summer 2012 and made 25 league appearances for United last season, admittedly, 8 of those appearances came from the bench.
This season, in the absence of Cheick Tiote, Anita has stepped in and performed admirably in a team who have now won their last 2 Premier League games, while playing some pretty decent stuff in the process. It would seem that not only are the Newcastle United fans impressed with Anita this season, but so too is Newcastle United boss, Alan Pardew.
Speaking to the Chronicle, here is what the Newcastle manager had to say,
Vurnon’s played well.
“His use of the ball has been very conservative. You have to remember he’s a Cheick Tiote breathing down his neck. Trust me, Cheick’s looking great this year.”
But Anita has now got to grips with the English top flight and has worked hard to master his all round game.
Pardew said: “He understood that last year he got overpowered at times.
“There are a lot of powerful players in the Premier League.
“He had to be a little bit smarter. He has been this year. All power to him.”
Pardew feels that Anita’s adjustment issues were down to the lack of regular competition in Holland.
Anita, who was a league champion with Ajax, knows all about the blood and thunder of tense encounters with PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord.
Yet Pardew isn’t convined encounters with the likes of Go Ahead Eagles and NAC Breda compare to life in the Premier League.
“He’s a player who understands that this level is a jump up, even though he was at Ajax.
“Ajax aren’t playing the likes of Everton, Man United and Man City.
“In a lot of games, they completely dominate weaker opposition.
“Last year he came into a team where we weren’t the dominant force in 80% of the games. This year we’re more dominant.”
What I find worrying, is that, while praising Vurnon Anita, Alan Pardew was at pains to emphasise how good he thinks Cheick Tiote has been in training this season, and we’re just hoping that Alan Pardew will not use a solitary poor performance from Anita to justify dropping him (after all, if that is all it took to drop a player, why were Jonas, Tiote and Taylor in the team for large parts of last season?!)
Personally, I feel that our improvement in our style of play has been largely down to the tweak in tactics used, and I feel strongly that Anita is a key part of those tactics; He’s quick, he recycles the ball well, can get up and down the field if need be and has a much fuller skill set of abilities in comparison to Tiote.
With an ever improving physical side to his game, we feel that Anita could force his manager to keep selecting him for some time to come…we hope!
What do you think? Has Anita impressed you? What do you feel he needs to work on? I’d love to hear your views.
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