Freddie Woodman says he had to “keep his head” during the first half of Newcastle United’s campaign.
The goalkeeper made his senior debut in Saturday’s 3-1 FA Cup win over Luton Town.
Woodman had been keen to go out on loan last summer.
However, the 20-year-old had to stay at St James’s Park as cover for Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow after the club’s failed to sign another goalkeeper.
Woodman – who helped England’s Under-20s win the World Cup last summer – is now looking forward to the second half of the campaign after putting a frustrating few months behind him.
“I had to keep my head these six months,” said Woodman.
I had to keep my head these six months. It’s been tough not playing. I’ve just kept my head down and got on with things.Freddie Woodman
“It’s been tough not playing. I’ve just kept my head down and got on with things.
“I’ve got in the gym and done extra sessions, really pushed myself. I knew that I’d been called upon any time.
“I’ve got to keep doing that and keep learning under this manager and hopefully get more opportunities.”
“I’m just taking it day by day. I’m just buzzing to be at this club, training every day with a fantastic manager and great set of players. I feel I’m getting better every day. I’m buzzing.”
Benitez could loan Woodman out for the second half of the season if he signs a goalkeeper in this month’s transfer window.
“We’ll decide what’s best for him and the club,” said Benitez.