Rafa Benitez has already improved a lot of players at Newcastle, and an excellent example of one of them is 24-year-old American International DeAndre Yedlin.
We remember watching Yedlin in the World Cup when he played for the US in Brazil, and he had terrific speed down the wing and looked an excellent young player.
After that tournament, he was signed by Tottenham and ended up at Newcastle 16 months ago when we shelled out £5M for him.
It has turned out to be a bargain buy for the Magpies.
While Borussia Dortmund forward Christian Pulisic remains the picture boy for the US team, DeAndre was outstanding in the USA’s 4-0 win against Panama last week.
DeAndre Yedlin in US colors
The US will now play at Trinidad and Tobago in a World Cup qualifier tomorrow, and then DeAndre will return to Newcastle.
This is what he has said in the US press:
“Everybody tells me they don’t know how I have so much energy, and I think people feed off that, which is great.”
“It’s (Premier League) a very physical league. It’s a league that if you lose focus for even a little bit of time, they can punish you,”
“Working with Rafa has taken my game to another level.”
It’s now almost certain the US will qualify for the World Cup finals in Moscow next year, and that would be the eighth successive time they have done that.
Yedlin had been missing from the US starting team for a couple of games – a defeat to Costa Rica and then a draw at Honduras.
DeAndre’s form against Panama showed the US had been missing not only his attacking prowess but also his defensive work – which is improving all the time.
Yedlin has suffered from hamstring injuries, and after the 4-0 win last week this is what US manager Bruce Arena had to say about the impressive Newcastle right-back:
“He continues to grow as a player, and it’s great to get him back in,”
The form of Yedlin so far this season in the few games he has played is outstanding, and Rafa can still make him into a better player as the season progresses.