A hamstring injury cost DeAndre Yedlin the first four matches of his Premier League season, but the American right back looked anything but rusty in his return.
Yedlin passed and moved well, a significant part of pivotal defensive and attacking play as Newcastle moved into the Top Four with a 2-1 win over Stoke City at St. James Park on Saturday.
[ RECAP: Newcastle 2-1 Stoke City ]
The 24-year-old University of Akron product says Rafa Benitez made it clear that the side’s energy would put it on the front foot in the game and with the boisterous home crowd.
“It’s one of the things the gaffer talked about before the game – we have to show team spirit and get the fans behind us,” Yedlin told nufc.co.uk. “And they were behind us the whole game, credit to them. Even when (Stoke) tied it up, we kept fighting and the fans got louder and louder, and eventually we got the winning goal.”
Yedlin’s absence didn’t just hamper Benitez’s plans for the start of the season, the American speedster was missing for the USMNT’s poor international break.
He spoke about his time away from the pitch.
“Obviously I injured my hamstring early in pre-season, came back for a little bit and injured it again. The thing with a hamstring injury, or any muscular injury in your leg, is that you have to be careful – especially the type of player I am,” he said.
“It’s a big asset to me. Sometimes, it can be a little bit scary to go out and sprint and jump and do those athletic sorts of things, but I thought I was fine today. I think the medical staff have done a great job with me, so credit to them for getting me back fit and healthy. I’m looking to push forward from here.”
If Saturday was any indication, the U.S. is getting an already in-form player back. Newcastle next meets up with Brighton and Hove Albion in the lone PL match on Sept. 24.