Rafa Benitez’ High Praise For This Little Battler

Last year in the last few games of the season Vurnon Anita played the best he has ever played for Newcastle United when it really mattered and in that final game against West Ham he was great and second in the Man of the Match voting, only to the incomparable Jonas Gutierrez.

And today Rafa Benitez has heaped praise on the Dutch International, who had an excellent game at right back in the great 3-0 win over Swansea last Saturday.

Rafa is simply delighted with the positive can-do attitude of the 27 year-old who was signed from Ajax in the summer of 2102 and has so far played 95 times for the side with two goals.

Vurnon Anita +Newcastle+United+v+West+Ham+United+TIcUk_tsl3Yl

Vurnon Anita – he’s a player you can trust

This is what Rafa Benitez has said about Vurnon in the Chronicle today:

“He is doing really well. We knew before that he’s a player you can trust.” “We played him at left-back and he’s clever and can adapt well.”

“On the right side he’s even better because he can push forward and cross well too.” “I am really pleased because some players are adapting themselves well to the circumstances and the team.”

It seems that Vurnon is a better right back than a central midfielder and he did play for a full season at Ajax at left back – so he’s versatile alright.

Vurnon will start at right back tonight and if he plays as well as he did on Saturday in keeping Jefferson Montero quiet,  he should start at Liverpool on Saturday – whether or not Daryl Janmaat is fit for the game.

Let’s give this player some credit – he always does his best for the team.

Vurnon is certainly a battler and not a bottler and those are the players we need in the team right now.

If we can survive in the Premier League this season – which is still against the odds – players like Vurnon Anita will be the real heroes on Tyneside.

Howay The Lads!!

55 comments so far

  • catchy in norway

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:04 PM

    Comment #1

    I have always rated Anita, gets a very rough deal from the fans and the club, always gives 100% , and not all of our players can say that.

    would love him to get a settled position

  • Ibizatoon

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:06 PM

    Comment #2

    Agreed Catchy. I don’t mind little Vern at all.

  • NOVA2967

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #3

    Don’t mind him as a squad player but the man shouldn’t be a starter at any position. He did well when are team was doing well when he came here but isn’t one to make the team better. Squad players, easy on the cement a place

  • LGFUAD21

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:16 PM

    Comment #4

    I dont think Anita has been given a long enough run in a balanced enough midfield to properly find his feet in this league.

    He gets accused of not being able to handle it which may be true but he’s never really been given a chance to learn.

    I’ve tried to dig out the article but cant find it. I think it was Frank De Boer talking about how you should use Anita.

    In a nutshell he credit Anita with being the cog to Ajax. Said he informed the whole team’s play and therefore when he was at his best it went unnoticed.

    I think Anita would’ve flourished at Swansea, or Bournemouth where the style wouldve suited him and he may have got a run of games.

    Every time he’s had a run here its been because Tiote is out (midfield loses protection and ball winning ability) or Cabaye was our (team looses creativity).

    Had we knocked the ball about a bit I think Vurn would’ve settled well. He’s not a fighter, hes a Joe Allen type that’ll keep the ball moving if the team has a tempo and momentum.

    He’s the type of player that will never take the plaudits and many (some on here included) will always go on at him because he’s not a flair players or a warrior – the two types of players Newcastle Fans value, but he could’ve become a decent cog in a well oiled machine.

    This is coming from someone that watched a lot of him when he was at Ajax (hence why I rate De Jong a lot)

  • EastEndMagpie

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:16 PM

    Comment #5

    Vurn at RB worked well last week, he dealt with montero well and doesn’t bomb on blindly at every half chance. He has to keep that RB spot for sure.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #6

    I think one of the problems people have with him is that he isn’t the tallest for a defender.

    Some of the best ever defenders were a bit on the short side, Nobby stiles and Billy Bremner spring to mind.

    I’m sure people can think of others/

  • shaun83

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #7

    Although it’s a game in hand I’d almost rather not be playing tonight’s game. Big concerns! Praying for a point!

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #8

    And as for Tyrion, need I say more!!

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #9

    for some reason I was thinking it was Tino at Durham city but of course it’s Olivier Bernard, just forget my question chaps.

  • Tsunki

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:31 PM

    Comment #10

    I also think a big plus with Anita is that you can stand a tray with a teapot, milk, sugar bowl, four cups and saucers and a plate of French fancies quite satisfactorily on his backside. While he’s running.

    Seriously though, he has been much maligned, he’s a facilitator in midfield and put in the right place he can keep opposing players busy chasing him around. His passing is better than most on the team.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:32 PM

    Comment #11

    Having said that Durham City were top dogs in their day when there was amateur football along with Bishop Auckland and of course World Cup winners West Auckland.

  • Spoof

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:33 PM

    Comment #12

    His preferred position, which is usually their best position is as a holding midfielder, he had an extended run their earlier in the season and he was dreadful, him and Colback lost every midfield battle they were in which is one of the main reason’s why we are where we are today, the only time we have really dominated a team, apart from Liverpool is when we have had either Shelvey or Tiote in one of those roles, and even with one of those two in the side if Anita is there partner then again we lose that vital battle, he is dreadful, obsolutley dreadful

  • bettyswallocks

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:42 PM

    Comment #13

    I also like little Vern. He seems to play better after a run in the team and seems more composed.
    If he was no good at football he would have made a good burglar, he could rub the footprints out with his arse.

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #14

    As he has got to grips with the intensity of the league, his workrate gone up as his passing has deteriorated, particularly when playing in midfield, he often would just aimlessly hoof it first time out of fear of being closed down. His short, sharp passing play has all but disappeared.

    Did well at RB at the weekend, but I’ll never be comfortable with him there no matter how good he does on the ground, purely because he is so short that it’s a very obvious weakness to exploit with diagonal balls into the box and crosses to the back post.

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:47 PM

    Comment #15

    +1 for Vern. He has worked on his physique too. Maybe not suited to English midfield unless surrounded by good players and power, but v impressed with his attitude. Quick into the tackle, good on ball. I like him and he’s honest.

  • DanToon

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #16

    Can anyone update me on what’s happened to Seydou Doumbia? He seems to have disappeared just like Ignacio Gonzalez and Facundu Ferreyra did!

    What is it with the Toon and these weird signing that never play (is there some other benefit)?

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Apr 19, 2016 at 2:00 PM

    Comment #17

    Think Doumbia was a Schteve signing and Rafa probably has one eye on next season,doesn’t see Doumbia as part of that, so doesn’t want to/doesn’t trust to rely on him.

    Any other reasonable explanation?

  • Toonfan8

    Apr 19, 2016 at 2:05 PM

    Comment #18

    I have seen on man city site, that Silva and Nasri are out for this match…so they will play with sterling,toure,navas behind aguero…two pacey wingers…we have to cover their attack and I think, we can win…we can score from set piece or counter attack I think….

  • dok - the horrid colonial

    Apr 19, 2016 at 2:05 PM

    Comment #19

    bloggers with knowledge?

    fcuk me, im out 🙂

  • lesh

    Apr 19, 2016 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #20


    C’mon man. Doumbia has all the hallmarks of a Carr signing. Out of condition, cheap as in loaned and not up to Prem standards. We didn’t sign Austin did we and he was McClaren’s choice but no…..

    Is Doumbia signed up to Mondial perchance?

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Apr 19, 2016 at 2:14 PM

    Comment #21

    What’s up with BandB?

  • MadisonToon

    Apr 19, 2016 at 2:14 PM

    Comment #22


    I think you’re spot on with that. We’re in a relegation dog-fight, the player least likely to give 100% is the player who is on loan and will leave at the end of the season no matter what happens. He also wasn’t able to force his way into SM’s side even though he was the manager when he was signed so clearly there’s some reasons for the managers to not put him in the side. It would be good to know rather than just guess at it, but I think that’s solid enough reasoning to feel confident that he’s not in the side because he’s

    1) unlikely to have the fight necessary to survive,
    2) not good enough (evidenced by not in SM’s sides or RB’s since) and
    3) has no long-term future with the club so RB doesn’t see him getting minutes as more useful than giving those to our contracted players.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 19, 2016 at 2:18 PM

    Comment #23


  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Apr 19, 2016 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #24


    Sure if we could have got Austin on loan it would be different.

    In any case, Carr and Schteve were close so I’m sure both had input into it, however I don’t think it was a result of any real groundwork this one, probably just a who’s available, a quick look at some stats and then the ball got rolling. Actually wouldn’t be surprised if Doumbia’s agent instigated it.

  • hibbitt

    Apr 19, 2016 at 2:40 PM

    Comment #25

    jail you in the posh seats tonight ?

  • Goldmbemba

    Apr 19, 2016 at 2:49 PM

    Comment #26

    if doumbia had scored at leicester things would be very different. i believe he would have overtaken cisse in the pecking order (still behind mitro).

    Not saying he’s got more quality than cisse (at his best), but just the way football goes thats what i think would have happened.

    Plus on the motivation in a dogfight thing, Doumbia was unpicked at Roma. If he could score the goals to keep the toon up, then either he could earn a new deal here or get noticed by another team. I don’t think he’d necessarily be lacking motivation.

    But I think Rafa came in and assessed the state of the squad and saw straight away that Mitro had built up some credit in the squad for his all round play, although not neccesarily scoring the goals. He realises that if we stay up, mitro is the future striker of the team.

  • Tsunki

    Apr 19, 2016 at 3:16 PM

    Comment #27


  • lesh

    Apr 19, 2016 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #28


  • lesh

    Apr 19, 2016 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #29


    Yes Doumbia was a last minute panic. Why? Because like the CB and LB be desperately needed and need, the overlooked Austin (who McClaren wanted!) and brought in anyone other than what we needed. We’re suffering because of Charnley and Carr’s shortsightedness.

  • manxpie

    Apr 19, 2016 at 3:46 PM

    Comment #30


  • manxpie

    Apr 19, 2016 at 3:49 PM

    Comment #31

    Just because Anita has 1 good game doesn’t mean he’s great again same as sisko Anita was shite in the middle and he’s played a fair few games there

  • Jib

    Apr 19, 2016 at 4:02 PM

    Comment #32
  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Apr 19, 2016 at 4:11 PM

    Comment #33

    What’s the craic with BandB?

  • Back Door Man

    Apr 19, 2016 at 4:13 PM

    Comment #34

    a repost from yesterday …

    As fans our basic need is to gulp the fizzy drink of honest performances and not to be continualy waterboarded with the rancid piss that’s been dispensed this season.  We need men with the heart famously shown by Jonas in that final game last season and belatedly by a few last Saturday against the shaggers.

    So who’ll turn up tonight to quench our thirst, will it be the brave and daring or the usual glut of effete pricks?  If the latter then they need to be publicly horse-whipped.

  • hibbitt

    Apr 19, 2016 at 4:16 PM

    Comment #35

    keep the faith lads

    lets hope we can get something out of tonight’s game never an easy game against world class players
    i’m going with only one thought don’t get beat
    any points from this game are a massive plus

    good luck toon army

  • Jib

    Apr 19, 2016 at 4:19 PM

    Comment #36

    Back Door Man

  • barkel

    Apr 19, 2016 at 4:21 PM

    Comment #37

    Damn right Hibbit, if you can’t win just make sure you don’t lose! Norwich & Mackems will be looking at this as 0 points for us so to take something from it will really keep the pressure on

  • Back Door Man

    Apr 19, 2016 at 4:26 PM

    Comment #38

    Oh, and by the way, the truly magnificent Mr Tuff called it correctly when he demanded 100% effort from them tonight.

  • Back Door Man

    Apr 19, 2016 at 4:31 PM

    Comment #39

    Jib – today, of all days, we should be sticking together. Agreed????

  • LGFUAD21

    Apr 19, 2016 at 4:36 PM

    Comment #40

    Spoof // Apr 19, 2016 at 1:33 PM

    Sorry to use your post as an example.

    But I do feel as though there is a misunderstanding between a deep lying midfielder and a defensive midfielder.

    Anita player as the deepest of 3 at Ajax very well because their game is possession based. In short, he wasnt expected to be breaking up play all of the time. Ajax, much like Dortmund base their defensive game on positioning and forcing errors and therefore interceptions.

    The premier league is a lot more scrappy. It’s breakneck pace means you often have to do a lot more dirty work to break up play.

    Particularly as teams in the Premier League do not sit back as much. And even the ones that do sit back tend to attempt to create chances faster, while Dutch teams will either try to counter or “pick the lock” so to speak.

    This is why Anita’s best position in the Premier League is not identical to his one at Ajax and something I feel both fans and managers have never understood with Anita.

    To get the best out of Anita, he’s going to need a solid tackler next to him, or at least a second deep midfielder that can press the ball and cut the passing channels to equal effect.

    I dont think Anita would ever become a brilliant player in this league but I think in the correct system he can become so much better in a team that used the ball a lot smarter.

    You cite Anita’s failure as a sole DM but I dont think any player in our squad since we’ve been back in the premier league has proven they can handle it, with the exception of Tiote.

    When Tiote is not on form he’s a liability. But our team with an in-form Tiote is far better than without because he is the only player (although I remember the great Perchinho doing it from time to time in his final season) that can break the play up.

    Tiote’s decline coincided with the loss of Cabaye.:
    1) We had no outlet to get attacks going anymore and therefore were put on the back foot a lot more.
    2) He started trying to do more with the ball than he was capable of.

    Our best mid partnership in recent years was Tiote and Cabaye or Perch and Cabaye the few times it was used.

    The system was simple but effective. One won the ball and fed it to Cabaye. Cabaye worked the attacks.

    Anita cannot work in a midfield 2 because you need very versatile midfielders to do that effectively (though hard work can pay dividends). With a midfield 2 you either get outnumbered and outbattled or you isolate your strikers as the midfield get easily forced into defensive roles (something they may not necessarily be best at), While your strikers (or 1 at least) has to drop back to get involved in something that isnt their strength.

    In a 4-3-3 you can give each midfielder a focus but also allow their roles to overlap when the game needs. Your wide men are more focused on attack so you pair a defensive mid, a box-to-box or a ball worker and a creative type.

    At Ajax, Anita was in a 3 man midfield with De Jong and Eriksen. Slightly different to the above as Ajax dominate the ball so much they can sacrifice the enforcer.

    If we had a midfield 3. I would play in the following combinations

    Tiote, Sissoko, Gini
    Tiote, Sissoko, Shelvey
    Tiote, Anita, Gini
    Tiote, Anita, Shelvey
    Tiote, Colback, Gini
    Tiote, Colback Shevley

    See how Anita and Sissoko are interchangeable. Both offer very different things but both fill the same slot in the team.

    Shelvey and Gini are there to create.
    Tiote is there to win the ball
    Anita would be there to keep play moving in a more relaxed possession game
    Sissoko would be there to battle the ball upfield in more cagey affairs or games where we cant find momentum.

    The aim should always be to win the ball (Tiote) get the ball to the creator (Gini/Shelvey) who can then get it to the front 3. Anita and Sissoko would be the glue to tie it all together. Give options without having to withdraw our attacking men. The system should be a case of repeating this process over and over again.

    Win the ball
    Recycle it/Move the ball around to open up the opportunity
    Use your front 4 to penetrate the opposition defence.

    Sorry for the mammoth essay.


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