RAFAEL BENITEZ has been named the Championship's manager of the month and has paid tribute to everyone he works with at Newcastle United.

Newcastle won all five league games last month to take charge of the Premier League promotion race and Benitez was up against Preston’s Simon Grayson, Leeds’ Garry Monk and Brighton’s Chris Hughton.

But the Spaniard was chosen ahead of the rest while Magpies striker Dwight Gayle was nominated for the Sky Bet Championship player of the month award too.

Gayle scored four times during that run and faced competition from Fulham’s Sone Aluko, Brighton’s Lewis Dunk and Reading’s Ali Al-Habsi. Aluko, however, has won the prize.

Benitez said: “I’m really pleased. As a manager when you win a trophy it means that your staff, your players, the people who work in the club, they are working very hard. So I think they also deserve this award and it’s important for everyone here.”

Newcastle's players are full of confidence after winning eight games in a row and DeAndre Yedlin thinks life at St James' Park is just like being in the Premier League - and suggests the vibe on has made the drop down to the Championship easy.

The American defender is gearing up for an eagerly-anticipated CONCACAF World Cup qualifier with Mexico in Ohio today; the same day as Magpies team-mate Matt Ritchie will line up for Scotland at Wembley against England.

Yedlin is enjoying his football and the Americans will hope he can help Jurgen Klinsmann’s team avoid losing to the Mexicans for only the second time in the last seven meetings.

But Yedlin feels as if he is in a good place at the moment in his football development after making the switch from White Hart Lane to St James’ Park in the summer, when for a number of months it seemed like he could head for Sunderland.

The 23-year-old said: “It’s been great (at Newcastle), it’s obviously a bit of a different experience going to the Championship, but I’m in a team that’s very, very capable of going back up, so that was a big part of my decision.

“We’re pulling in 50,000 fans at home and 6,000 away, so in terms of the support and things like that and the size of the club, it’s not any different to being in the Premier League.”

Yedlin hopes to add to his 42 caps for his country tonight and it was during the World Cup in 2014 when his performances in Brazil made English clubs really take notice.

His performances led to Tottenham handing him a four-year deal, even though he spent the first six months back on loan with Seattle before heading to London the following January.

It never worked out for him at Tottenham, however, and he only made one Premier League appearance before heading to Sunderland on loan in September last year. That move went well in the end, and there was a chance he would return to Wearside, but Benitez moved in with a £5m offer and a five-year deal.

Yedlin, speaking to MLS Soccer, said: “I’m working with a great manager (Benitez) and great players, so it’s not like it’s easy for me to get into the line-up and play every game. So it’s a challenge for me, so that’s good as well. That’s what I need at this point in my career.

“The first six months to a year (at Spurs) was a bit tougher than I thought it was going to be but obviously I was at Sunderland last year and I lived in Newcastle, so I knew Newcastle from my time there, so living in Newcastle now almost feels like a second home. So that’s been a pretty easy transition.

“A big thing about the move to England for me is that I’m a big family guy, I have always been around my family. I was in college for a year and a half and then I went back home, so I was always around. To not have my family there was tough. If you want to call them there’s a time difference, so you have to plan for that.”

Yedlin was part of a major summer of transformation to the Newcastle squad, when Rafa Benitez was desperate to equip for a tilt at the Championship title. Midfielder Isaac Hayden was another of the arrivals and he has been rewarded with a couple of England calls.

Hayden has been with the England Under-21s squad for the friendly with Italy and he aims to impress Aidy Boothroyd and Gareth Southgate with his performances; believing he had to leave Arsenal to gain such opportunities.

Hayden said: “It is nice to be involved with the Under-21s. It was always going to be necessary for me to leave Arsenal. They have a lot of players, I wasn’t going to get a chance, so I had to go to a club and to get a chance to come to a club as big as this was great.

“But if you look at players my age you could probably think of two English lads, Dele Alli and Eric Dier, maybe, who are my age playing regularly in the Premier League. Even in the Championship there aren’t that many my age. It is about getting as much experience as I can.”