VURNON Anita has vowed to step into Yohan Cabaye’s shoes for Newcastle United – and increase his goal tally next season.
Anita has scored just twice for United since joining from Ajax in 2012, and has admitted that is an area of his game he is looking to improve.
The midfielder played 34 times in the Premier League for Newcastle last season as Alan Pardew’s side finished 10th.
However, their form in the second half of the campaign dropped dramatically, with United picking up just 16 points in their final 20 games.
Anita’s importance increased after the sale of Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain in January, and he got on the scoresheet for the only time last season with a late strike to round off March’s 4-1 win at Hull City.
The 25-year-old was unhappy with his goal return, and has pledged to work tirelessly in pre-season to improve that aspect of his game, with the Magpies missing goals from the centre of the park after Cabaye’s departure.
He said: “Scoring goals is a big thing I want to improve next season.
“I’m going to work hard for it in pre-season to show it in the competition.
“I want to become even more important for the team next season and a better player, and scoring goals is a big part of that.
“I just want to get even more games (next season) and be more important for the team.”
After Cabaye left in January, Anita became an ever-present in Newcastle’s midfield alongside Cheik Tiote, but the pair managed just one goal between them last term.
The duo were virtually assured of their place in the team, though, with United’s squad lacking depth and quality.
Anita could face renewed competition for a midfield spot next season, with the likes of Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback, Swansea City’s Jonjo Shelvey and Manchester City’s Jack Rodwell linked with Newcastle.
However, the Dutchman is unconcerned by the rumours, despite admitting the Magpies must improve next term.
He added: “We were happy to finish in the top 10, but we need to improve.
“We all needed to step up a little bit (after Cabaye’s departure), and we need to continue that next season.
“We will just have to see what happens (about transfers).
“Maybe some players will come in, but if not, we need to keep with this team and work hard to improve next season.”