DeAndre Yedlin is finally up to speed at Newcastle United – and looking to make up for lost time.
The defender made his comeback from a hamstring problem in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Stoke City.
Yedlin had been sidelined since late July, when he limped out of the club’s friendly against Mainz.
And the 24-year-old came through 90 tough minutes against Mark Hughes’ side.
The result, the club’s third win in a row, lifted the club up to fourth in the Premier League.
“It was great,” said Yedlin, signed from Tottenham Hotspur last year.
I’d actually been injured in the very beginning of pre-season. I came back for a bit, probably about 10 days, and then I did it again. That’s why it’s been a pretty long process getting back.DeAndre Yedlin
“Obviously, coming back from a hamstring injury isn’t easy, because you have to take them pretty slow and be pretty careful with them, especially when you’re the type of player I am.
“It’s one of my necessities to make sure I have my leg muscles as close to 100% as they can be.
“It was great be back and great to come back on a win. I thought the team played pretty well. There were a couple of moments where we slipped up a bit, but I thought, for the most part, that we dominated the game and played very well.
“I just tried to feed off the other players who have been doing it for the last four games.
“I tried to work myself into the game and not do anything too crazy, just keep it simple, and make it to half time. I was feeling all right. It was good to get the full 90. It was good for myself to have the confidence to go 90.”
Yedlin’s pre-season was twice interrupted by injury.
And the USA international made certain he was 100% before making a first-team comeback.
“I’d actually been injured in the very beginning of pre-season,” said Yedlin. “I came back for a bit, probably about 10 days, and then I did it again.
“That’s why it’s been a pretty long process getting back. It’s my second hamstring injury.
“We wanted to make sure it was 110% before I came back, so it didn’t reoccur.”
Newcastle’s winning run has raised expectations on Tyneside.
Yedlin, however, is reluctant to look beyond Sunday’s game against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.
“We need to take it one game at a time,” said Yedlin.
“We have a lot of games to play. The season doesn’t end now, so we need to keep going and take it one game at a time and stay prepared, focused.”
Meanwhile, Christian Atsu is finally off the mark in the Premier League – four years after arriving in England.
The United winger, for the first time, is playing week in, week out in the English top flight. And that, in Atsu’s view, is down to manager Rafa Benitez.
Atsu paid tribute to Benitez after opening his Premier League account with a strike against Stoke.
“I think with Rafa I have improved a lot,” said Atsu. I’ve seen for myself and a lot of people have also seen it.
“He’s very important to me. I’m also listening to him. He’s a good coach.
“Rafa’s always telling me to use my speed to run behind the defence if I want to assist or score goals.
“Ritchie gave me a great ball, and I ran behind the defence. It was a great finish.”