When DeAndre Yedlin signed for us in the summer from Tottenham Hotspur, he was brought in to replace Daryl Janmaat who wanted to keep playing in the Premier League and so joined Watford.
Yedlin had a name for being a good attacking full back with speed, but that his defensive qualities needed some work.
After not having a particularly good game on Wednesday night in the 2-2 draw against QPR, DeAndre was much better on Saturday in the 1-0 win against Derby.
Rafa Benitez and DeAndre Yedlin on Saturday
And it was his defensive work – when he brilliantly headed off the line in those last few seconds of the game to preserve the win – that got him the plaudits.
And he also made some great runs down the right wing and was a constant threat to Derby.
Slowly but surely Yedlin is becoming a better full-back under Rafa and we can see this lad developing into a really good player for the Magpies in the future.
He’s also a good lad with a professional approach to the game and the Seattle-born player is keen to make himself into a better player under the guidance of Rafa Benitez.
Yedlin was our Man of the Match with 34% of the vote.
And that man Matt Ritchie is second (22%) and he scored yet again for us and he’s filled in so well since our top goalscorer Dwight Gayle was injured over three weeks ago.
Matt now has 12 goals for the season and he is likely to beat his total when he was last in the Championship, when he scored 15 goals in 51 total appearances for Bournemouth in the 2014-2015 season.
We’ll point out Mo Diame was 4th in the voting behind Jonjo Shelvey and Mo looked great in that first half before he was switched to a more defensive role, when Isaac Hayden left the game early in the second half with an injury.
That seemed to upset the balance of the Newcastle side.
If Mo can keep playing like that he will be a huge player for us over the final 17 games of the season, where 11 wins will see us promoted.
It was an excellent result for Newcastle on Saturday afternoon – just what we needed.