We singed Vurnon Anita form Ajax in the summer of 2012 for £6.7M from Ajax, and he was the only senior player we signed that summer when we also brought in youngster Gael Bigirimana from Coventry for £1M.
Vurnon has never quite managed to hold down a starting position, although he played very well when it really counted in the last few games of last season, and had an excellent game in the 2-0 win against West Ham United that finally saved us.
Vurnon Anita – in action at Swansea this season
Vurnon is a very good technical player and he very rarely loses the ball, but it could be that he will nail down a starting position this season under Steve McClaren, who knows all about Dutch players after managing for two spells at FC Twente.
Vurnon has started the first three league games for Newcastle, and will keep his place against Arsenal on Saturday at St. James’ Park.
And the really good news is that after over a three year absence from the International scene, new Dutch coach Danny Blind has recalled him to the preliminary squad of 31 to play Iceland and Turkey in two Euro 2016 qualifying games, during the upcoming two week International break.
The squad still has to be trimmed to 23 for the two games, so we hope he makes the cut.
Vurnon has been interviewed today in Holland’s De Telegraaf:
“I am still a true Ajax footballer, who still has his technique, but I have become physically stronger, which is needed to survive in England.”
“It is of course a preliminary squad and I have to wait and see whether I end up in the final squad, but it would be nice to have a sequel to my international career.
“I am 26 and have a lot more experience than five years ago. I hope I have many years ahead of me.”
Vurnon has so far played 98 times for Newcastle with two goals and two assists, and he looks very comfortable playing in one of the holding midfield positions with Jack Colback.
However, a number of other Newcastle players can also play there, and he will have pressure on his place as the season progresses, with Newcastle looking to have a much improved squad from last season.
But it’s good to see Vurnon contributing and it wouldn’t surprise us if he becomes a fixture of Steve McClaren’s Newcastle team – it’s good to see him come in from the cold.