Vurnon Anita has welcomed the competition from DeAndre Yedlin – as it’s making him a better player.
Anita and Yedlin have been alternating at right-back at Newcastle United since the departure of Daryl Janmaat in the summer.
We push each other to a better level, and that’s the most important thing for the team.Vurnon Anita
Rafa Benitez opted to play Anita against Leeds United on Sunday.
And the 27-year-old helped Newcastle record an impressive 2-0 victory which moved the club five points clear at the top of the Championship.
Anita was signed as a midfielder in the summer of 2012, but Benitez has predominantly used him at right-back.
The Holland international said: “Of course I’m enjoying it, because we’re winning.
“That’s the most important thing. We are winning and I’m playing games, so I’m happy.”
Newcastle signed Yedlin – who spent last season on loan at Sunderland – from Tottenham Hotspur in August.
The 23-year-old – who was away with the United States during the international break – has impressed at right-back.
And Anita feels the competition from Yedlin is bringing the best out of him.
“I think so,” he said. “We push each other to a better level, and that’s the most important thing for the team.
“Everywhere across the team there are rotations.
“Everybody is ready to play, so if somebody different comes in the levels still stay high. It’s only a good thing.”
Anita often found himself on the bench during his first four seasons at Newcastle.
“It has been good to play, but even the other seasons I was happy,” he said.
“Maybe I didn’t play as much as now, but I stayed focused and I kept going like always.”
United – who take on Blackburn Rovers at St James’s Park on Saturday – have incredible momentum after nine successive league and cup wins.
“The momentum is there,” said Anita. “We need to keep going and take it game by game.
“We want to win every game and go into it like that (against Leeds) for every match. We are ready and everybody is focused given the way we are playing.
“The supporters have been amazing. Blackburn is next and we have to stay focused to get the win.
“It’s not going to be easy, but we’re targeting another win.”