Rafa Benitez is ready to put his “trust” in Vurnon Anita at Newcastle United – despite not knowing his best position.
Anita, starting his fifth season at the club, has featured in defence and midfield in pre-season.
I said the other day that he (Anita) is clever – he’s someone you can trust – and I am very happy with him.Rafa Benitez
And the 27-year-old, signed from Ajax in the summer of 2012, also scored a stunning goal against Southend United last week.
Anita could get a start in midfield against Fulham in Friday night’s Championship opener at Craven Cottage.
Newcastle manager Benitez feels the Holland international’s footballing intelligence enables him to across the park.
Asked what Anita’s best position was, Benitez said: “I said the other day – eveywhere.
“I cannot give him the gloves, because he’s not the size for being in goal.
“But he’s a professional, and he was playing as a right full-back for Ajax, so he’s been playing as a full-back here, filling in at left full-back. I said the other day that he is clever – he’s someone you can trust – and I am very happy with him.”
Benitez’s squad will be tested by a 46-game Championship season, and Anita feels his versatility will prove to be a strength for United in English football’s second tier.
“I feel like it is in me to play in multiple positions, and that enables me to be able to fill in where I can and do my best to try to help the team,” said Anita.
“We all know the Championship is a difficult league with a lot of matches, so it is important to have people in the squad who can fill in in a number of different positions.
“I think I am one of those people, and hopefully that will help.
“I haven’t played in goal yet, but maybe if I have to play in goal, I will do that too!
“I have always felt comfortable in lots of different roles, and hopefully the manager knows that wherever he asks me to play, I will always do my best and give my all. I want to show everybody what I can do.”
Meanwhile, United striker Tom Heardman made his comeback from long-term injury on Monday night.
Heardman – who had been sidelined for more than a year – played 45 minutes for the club’s Under-23 side in their 1-0 defeat to Ashington at Woodhorn Lane.
“It was a great feeling to be putting on the kit again,” said Woodhorn.