Rafael Benitez hails qualities and attitude of Newcastle's versatile 27-year-old

The Magpies boss says Vurnon Anita is exactly the kind of player the club needs in this situation.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has told the Chronicle that versatile star Vurnon Anita is a player "you can trust" and exactly what the club needs in its perilous situation.

Anita, most recognised as a midfielder, has been filling in in the full-back positions for the beleaguered North East club in recent weeks as Benitez copes with something of an injury crisis which has seen Daryl Janmaat and Paul Dummett on the sidelines along with Massadio Haidara in recent weeks.

The Dutchman started at right-back in the 3-0 win over Swansea City on Saturday and impressed in keeping tricky winger Jefferson Montero quiet, and is likely to continue in that role against Manchester City at St. James' Park tonight.

Benitez hailed the 27-year-old's willingness to adapt to help out his teammates, and highlighted the value in having a player both so versatile and so trustworthy to call upon.

The Spanish boss told the Chronicle: "He is doing really well. We knew before that he’s a player you can trust. We played him at left-back and he’s clever and can adapt well.

"On the right side he’s even better because he can push forward and cross well too. I am really pleased because some players are adapting themselves well to the circumstances and the team."

The Magpies gave themselves a real boost in the battle to avoid the drop with their first win under Benitez's management at the weekend, and they have now closed the gap on Norwich City and safety to just three points.

Tonight's clash with City is followed by a trip to Liverpool, however, and despite having winnable games against Crystal Palace and Aston Villa on the horizon after that, the Magpies know they are likely to have to get at least some points return from those two difficult tests.

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