Newcastle's DeAndre Yedlin on the Rafa Benitez mantra and using his time out injured wisely

DeAndre Yedlin
DeAndre Yedlin

Time on the sidelines helped Newcastle United full-back DeAndre Yedlin become a student of the game.

The USA international spent much of his two months out with a hamstring injury working on ways to improve himself as a player.

No stone was left unturned - tactics were analysed, videos studied and games watched, all with the intent of making sure he was an improved version of himself in black and white.

And having made his Premier League return three games before the international break, Yedlin explained to Soccer America: "I've always been a pretty positive person - I've definitely been getting mentally stronger and stronger.

"Being out so long made me hungrier to get back. I am ever more focused than I was before.

"I feel stronger tactically. When I wasn't able to run, I watched a lot of film and a lot of games."

Yedlin is away on international duty with USMT facing two potentially crucial World Cup qualifiers against Panama on Saturday in Florida, then again v Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday.

But the pacey right-back's thoughts are never too far away from Tyneside.

Yedlin was one of the main success stories of United's season in the Championship, and he was a miss in the opening weeks of the club's return to the top flight, despite a solid show from summer signing Javier Manquillo.

United have surprised a few with their recent form, having lost their opening two games they've since picked up 10 points to nestle nicely in ninth spot.

Yedlin puts that down to one thing, continuity.

"Rafa preaches pretty much the same principles no matter who is on the field," said Yedlin.

"The good thing about our team is that it is young and hungry so everyone has bought into his game plan. And it has showed with the results."