Ex-Tottenham & Sunderland star DeAndre Yedlin says Newcastle a '˜massive club'

DeAndre Yedlin brushed aside any doubts about dropping a level because he knew he was signing for a 'massive club' and 'unbelievable manager'.

Saturday, 3rd September 2016, 6:00 am
DeAndre Yedlin in action in his Sunderland days. Picture by FRANK REID

The 23-year-old left Tottenham Hotspur last month to join Newcastle United’s promotion challenge from the Sky Bet Championship under Rafa Benitez.

Yedlin, who made his debut as a sub in the 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend at St James’s Park, says he loves being back in the North-East.

The USA international helped Sunderland stay in the Premier League last season, at Newcastle’s expense, playing 23 times on loan for the Black Cats.

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But now, all his energies are being channeled into getting the Magpies back into the top flight and has signed a five-year contract.

“When I was up here last year with Sunderland I really enjoyed the area,” said the defender.

“Newcastle came forward and put a bid in and I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to get back up to the north.

“It’s a massive club and Rafa Benitez speaks for himself.

“He’s an unbelievable manager with a great resume so there were really no cons to it.

“It [dropping into the Championship] came into the equation.

“But it’s still a good opportunity and I think this team definitely has the talent to be able to go up this year.

“I’m obviously hoping we do but we have to take it game by game.”

Yedlin enjoyed his time in a red and white jersey but admitted there was never any firm prospects of a return to Wearside.

“There were talks but it never really got to that final stage,” he explained.

“That wasn’t really an option and when Newcastle became involved I took that opportunity.

“It was never a choice between the clubs.”

Capped 39 times by the USA, the defender is enjoying being back on the fields of England after an eventful summer.

Representing his country at the Copa America, he steamed into two challenges in the space of a minute against Paraguay, earning back-to-back yellow cards and an inevitable red.

Even though his tournament came to an abrupt end, he said he enjoyed pulling on the USA shirt.

“It was good,” he said. “Whenever you’re getting playing time, especially for the national team, it’s a big honour, so it’s good for your confidence.

“The red card wasn’t the best thing for my confidence but that happens, it’s football and I move on.”

And, despite that impetuosity in Philadelphia, Yedlin says he has improved as a defender.

“I think people saw improvements in my defending, my positioning and things like that,” he said. “I think people were impressed.”