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."

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