JAMES Perch expects Newcastle United team-mate Vurnon Anita to be even more effective in the second half of the season.
After initially struggling to acclimatise following his summer move from Ajax, Anita has gradually found his feet in the last couple of matches.
He produced his best display in a Newcastle shirt in Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Manchester City, but Perch is confident there is still more to come from the diminutive midfielder.
Loading article content
With Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa both unavailable, Anita will keep his place in the starting line-up for this weekend's home game with QPR, and the Dutchman is set to become a key player in the second half of the season.
"He's only young," said Perch. "He's 23 and he's come from the Dutch league, which is probably the most relaxed league in Europe. You get a lot of time on the ball over there and the intensity is nothing like as quick.
"We've talked about it and he says the intensity is the biggest difference. It takes time to get used to it, and that's the same for most players.
"There are players in the Man City team who cost £25m but it still took them a few games to get used to things. It is like that and it can be hard initially for the foreign players. He's been working hard in training though and now hopefully he'll start reaping his rewards."
Last weekend's defeat sent Newcastle tumbling to 15th in the table, and with Christmas trips to Manchester United and Arsenal looming large, Saturday's home game with QPR has assumed great importance.
Harry Redknapp's side only recorded their first league win of the season at the weekend, but Perch insists the Magpies cannot afford to take anything for granted after recent home defeats to West Ham and Swansea.
"The Christmas games look tough, so that makes this weekend's game all the more important, but the QPR match is going to be a tough game as well," he said."They've got a new manager and a good squad, and although things haven't gone well for them this year, they'll be looking to turn things around.
"But every game here at St James' is a game we think we're going to win, and QPR is no different.
"When teams come here, it's an intimidating place because we have 50,000 Geordies on our side. When things are going well, they are like the 12th man. We used that to our advantage against Wigan (when Newcastle won 3-0), and we'll be hoping to do so again against QPR."