The 24-year-old midfielder, who arrived from Ajax at the beginning of last season, faces a battle to gain regular first-team action at St James' Park due to the presence of Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote.

However, in addition to making five starts so far in the current campaign, Anita has impressed Pardew with his work ethic and attitude in training.

"It's not good banging on my door saying you should be playing." Pardew told the Shields Gazette. "I need to see it on that training ground. He's one of our best at doing that.

"That's the best way to be, because your manager is going to respect that. Therefore, when his time comes, I'll stick with him because of that honesty and that commitment to the group.

"He's knocking on the door in training and, trust me, that's where you want to do it.

"I think he's getting to grips with the Premier League, and he's pushing hard now.

"That's what we want. He's pushing hard to start.

"At the minute, Cabaye and Cheick are back to their very best, so he’s got a tough job."