AS FAR as promotions from the Sky Bet Championship are concerned, Vurnon Anita has been there, done that and worn the t-shirt.
A Newcastle United shirt was donned 27 times by the Dutchman as the Magpies achieved promotion to the Premier League as champions last term.
Anita knows nothing is won in August or September but the 28-year-old can see “similarities” between Thomas Christiansen’s Whites and Rafa Benitez’s Magpies with the Whites already ahead of where Newcastle were this time last year.
Anita will hope to make his sixth appearance for Leeds United in this evening’s Championship clash at fourth-placed Nottingham Forest in which a victory could send Christiansen’s fifth-placed Whites up to third spot.
United remain unbeaten five games into the new season.
Newcastle – who went on to win the league – lost their first two games last term and Anita remembers it well with a 1-0 loss at Fulham and 2-1 defeat at home to Huddersfield Town leaving the Tyneside club without a single point after two games.
It means Anita is well placed to stress that the Championship season is a marathon and not a sprint.
But the footballer is also well placed to compare his new Leeds side to last season’s promoted Magpies and the former Ajax player can see plenty of similarities, only with Leeds having the advantage of making a better start.
The Magpies had just six points after four league games last year whereas Leeds now have eight.
“I think there are a lot of similarities,” Anita told the YEP, comparing Leeds to Newcastle’s Championship winning team last year.
“But this year we started the league better than last season so we are a little bit more confident this season.
“But it’s a long league and you have to keep on going every game and take it step by step.
“We are really, really confident but this is just the first month and with Newcastle we had a bad start and finished first.
“You need to stay focused and work hard every game and take it step by step.
“There is a lot of ambition at the club and we want to get promoted and that is a difficult thing but the fans want that as well.
“We know there is pressure on us but until now we are showing that we can deal with the pressure.
“But it’s the first month and we need to keep on improving and keep on doing the same things.”
United pulled off a shrewd transfer by signing Anita for free after his deal at Newcastle had expired.
The summer recruit left Newcastle after making 151 appearances following his switch from Ajax in August 2012.
Anita made 124 appearances for Ajax and the Dutchman has also been capped four times by his national side.
Explaining how his summer switch to Elland Road, developed Anita recalled: “It was early in the vacation that I heard some news that Leeds really, really wanted me and the ball kept on rolling until the end.
“Leeds did a good job last season as well, only at the end they fell down a little bit.
“But when we played against Leeds United I already thought this is a really good team and they have shown it.”
It is now Anita’s aim to show that he has been a wise addition and the 28-year-old hopes his versatility will stand him in good stead.
The former Dutch international grew up as a midfielder but can also play across the defence and has so far been predominantly used by Whites head coach Christiansen as a right-back.
“I am a player that can play in multiple positions so it wasn’t something new,” said Anita.
“I tried to help the team and do more than my best.
“I think I have gone good. But I can always be better of course.
“I am improving every day and learning about my new team-mates as well.
“I think for myself, my best position is midfield.
“Last season I played a lot of times at right-back but I am happy to play – if that is left-back or right-back or even striker.
“It’s for me just to play and get my minutes and show everybody what I have got.”