Midterm Report: The realisation of Vurnon Anita’s potential

Words by Kevin Doocey on .

Vurnon Anita in action for Newcastle United against Fulham in the Premier League

As many of you will know and are probably tired of me pointing out (!) I am a big fan of <Vurnon Anita and his style of play. Many Newcastle fans were quick to play down his potential when he arrived from Ajax in 2012 for £7m, but from the few performances he put in it was clear - to me at least - that this guy is a technically astute player. I remember the day we landed him; Ajax manager Frank de Boer lamented at losing on their top prospects, a testament to the true potential of the little man. As the Ajax philosophy goes, the club tries to produce at least 3 players from their academy and fit them in the first team every two years. Vurnon happened to be one of these players. A short, but tenacious midfielder with a good passing range, and more importantly — a vision which makes him one of the best players at the club currently.

Thankfully Alan Pardew has realised what important player he can be, and has involved Vurnon in a large chunk of the season in a very competitive Newcastle United midfield. Anyway, here are my thoughts on his form so far this season.

Story so far: In my opinion a large portion of Newcastle’s good form this season has come down to a certain Vurnon Anita. Playing in front of the back four, the Dutchman collects possession and moves it on without anything fancy or risky. He spots smart passes and then moves in positions where he can receive the ball to relieve a teammate of pressure. His ability to track the opposition and collect the ‘scraps’ makes him so effective. However, his holding role is not the only aspect to his game. He can push forward when needed and can spot a through ball to set the likes of Loic Rémy free. All in all, he has been sublime this season and is proving yet again what a fine judge of a player head-scout Graham Carr really is.

Moment of the Season: I am very tempted to single-out his performance against Chelsea in Newcastle’s fine 2-0 victory over Jose Mourinho’s men in which he showed a touch of class to settle the affair with an excellent assist for Rémy. Despite that, he did only play 40 minutes, so his moment of the season goes to his showing away at Old Trafford against Manchester United. He absolutely conquered the midfield alongside Cheick Tioté and didn’t give Phil Jones or Tom Cleverley a touch in the centre of the park in turn helping secure a big result. With an average pass accuracy of 86% so far this season, Vurnon is doing a sterling job.

So… there is my quick review of Vurnon Anita so far this season. This ‘Midterm Report’ series will continue tomorrow when I take a look at Cheick Tioté and Moussa Sissoko so stay tuned!

Do you have anything to say about Anita’s form so far this season? Well if you do, leave a comment below and also make sure you give me a follow on Twitter@KevinDoocey & like Tyne Time’s Facebook page!

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john ellis: ⏱ 22/01/2014

starting to show his true worth to the team may it continue..

winston: ⏱ 22/01/2014

don't agree at all too weak how many goals or assists?

Charlie Hopkins: ⏱ 22/01/2014

Whenever Pards takes him off we lose

Doocey: ⏱ 22/01/2014

Vurnon Anita is not in the Newcastle United team to score goals or provide assists — he is a holding midfielder not a striker/forward.

Doocey: ⏱ 22/01/2014

It scares me to see him coming off to be honest. He was wrongly substituted against West Ham and on another day the Hammers could have equalised only for Cabaye's pinpoint free-kick at the end. But yeah, we certainly do worse without him!

luke: ⏱ 23/01/2014

He's easily been one of our best players this season we dnt give him enough credit he learned his stuff at the best possible academy about

Dan: ⏱ 23/01/2014

How many does carrick get? Yet he is still a great player

Vassilis Koukoulis: ⏱ 23/01/2014

Spot on article Vernon is a very important part in our midfield and if he can hold his own among Tiote, Cabaye, Sissoko and Goufran is a sign of a good player, when you include Ben Arfa to the above five you realise what midfield we have got, no wonder that Bigirimana, Gosling, Sammy and Vuckic all considered reasonable premier league squad members cannot get a sniff. Long may continue and if Cabaye goes as predicted in the Summer I am sure Carr has already his replacement in mind. My main concern is the front line, Remy is not certain will be there next year, Cisse if he stays has to improve a lot and he has to learn the offside rules, Shola has proved that cannot play to the standard of the present team, and a number of up coming youngsters will not be ready to lead the front line, so De Jong must be a solution and undre the present circumstances at Blackpool young Ince could be persuaded to joint us.