Rafa Benitez is succeeding where other Newcastle managers failed: getting the best out of Vurnon Anita.
The player appreciates the Spaniard’s influence as well, performing as well as he ever has in the black and white this pre-season. Joking that he had yet to play in goal for the club, the Chronicle reports that the Dutchman said:
“I feel like it is in me to play in multiple positions, and that enables me to be able to fill in where I can and do my best to try to help the team.
“I was able to do that with a goal at Southend, and I also think I produced a good performance. It is up to me now to keep on going and help the team, and show everybody what I can do.
Anita arrived from Ajax in 2012 and it’s fair to say we have yet to see him perform consistently well. Coming through the ranks in Amsterdam bestows higher expectations on a player when they move to a new club. Now we may see them reached.
Rafa has given him a new lease of life and his versatility may prove to be crucial in the coming campaign. Despite a record seven signings, it’s still proving difficult for Rafa Benitez to complete all of the business needed to strengthen the squad. If he finds solutions are already at hand, he can proritise the remaining targets.
There’s a long way to go before we can be sure Anita is going to deliver but for once, the signs are looking good.