Linkman Vurnon Anita is sitting pretty at Newcastle United

If Vurnon Anita hadn't already signed for Newcastle he would perfectly fit the profile of the player the fans want to see their club buy this summer

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Vurnon Anita of Newcastle United competes with Stuart Carswell of Motherwell
Vurnon Anita of Newcastle United competes with Stuart Carswell of Motherwell

IF Vurnon Anita hadn't already signed for Newcastle he would perfectly fit the profile of the player the fans want to see their club buy this summer

The Dutchman links up between defence and midfield and is happy to sit that bit deeper and allow more creative players to do their thing.

For someone so small, he is strong in the tackle and, while he’s never going to score you a barrowload of goals, he can pass the ball and keep possession.

Yet it didn’t really happen for Anita last season.

He had his moments, a towering performance against Manchester City at St James’ Park springing to mind.

However, if Alan Pardew can get the best out of the former Ajax man (pictured below) , he might just have a little gem on his hands.

Anita’s role, you would think, would be to act as guard to the back four.

He would take short passes from the centre-halves, rather than them having to hit a long and fruitless pass, and then pass it on to Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye or Hatem Ben Arfa.

This role has been described detrimentally as the ‘water carrier.’

More accurately, it is pivotal to how any team operates at the highest level.

Tuesday night’s match at Motherwell was a good example of what Anita’s role might be.

He sat behind Sissoko, which he is likely to do tonight against Rio Ave here in Braga in Newcastle’s second match of this pre-season, and allowed the Frenchman to boss the midfield. It’s a combination that just might work.

Anita said: “Moussa and I did well on Tuesday, but there are also many other players who can play there.

“It’s up to the manager to decide who he wants to play there. We will do the best we can to make it hard for him to decide who will play. That’s what it is about. This is my second season, but while I don’t think it will be easier I know what to expect now.

“The whole team now knows what to expect because many of the players did not know too much about how different the Premier League is to other leagues.

“This year we must improve on how we did last season and I think we will do well.”

Anita added: “The fact we all start together at pre-season will make a difference.

“It will be nice all of this squad now has a full season together.

“We now all know what happens at the club. The coach wants us all from the start so we are all settled and together.

“The guys who came in January also are here for the new season, right at the beginning of training, so there is a good feeling between everyone.

“There were not any real surprises for me in English football.

“I knew and expected that it was going to be very, very tough, totally different to Holland.

“I enjoy that because it means it will help you improve to the next level.

“It is all about improvement. We have to keep together and work hard on and off the pitch.”

What with Joe Kinnear’s appointment, Papiss Ciss� left back home and a lack of new signings, despite a lot of promise you could think the whole place was in an uproar.

However, when you walk around the United hotel in Braga and the training camp, there is a feeling of contentment and focus among the players.

There seems to be a genuine bond and shared determination.

Either that or they are a fine bunch of actors whenever a pressman is around.

Anita said: “We have had six months to get to know each other and we know each other a lot better. We are much further down the line than last season.”

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