Last Updated: Mon, 03 Dec 2012 12:28
Alan Pardew has admitted summer signing Vurnon Anita has endured a baptism of fire since his arrival from Ajax.
The diminutive £6.7million midfielder has been thrown straight into the heat of Barclays Premier League battle in the depths of an ongoing injury crisis when his manager had hoped to nurse him through his early months in English football.
But the 23-year-old, who has also had to fill in at right-back at times, is gradually finding his feet and starting to show the quality in which the Magpies invested.
Pardew said: "He's had a baptism of fire, really. This really was a year of coming into a good side, being in and out, getting his confidence and finding out what he would bring to the team.
"Unfortunately for him, we haven't been winning and he has been right in the thick of it almost every week, trying to understand Premier League football.
"I think (the midweek loss to) Stoke was a bit of a shock, but I honestly thought he was one of the best players on the pitch, so he is getting to grips with it.
"But it's important we get a win for people like Vurnon, who wasn't here when we were winning games on a regular basis, so it's different for him.
"We want to get a win and it will help people like Vurnon."
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