Friends reunited as Newcastle United’s Vurnon Anita prepares for midfield battle with Norwich City star Leroy Fer

Manchester City's Edin Dzeko (left) chases Newcastle United's Vurnon Anita during the Barclays Premi

Manchester City's Edin Dzeko (left) chases Newcastle United's Vurnon Anita during the Barclays Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Newcastle's Vurnon Anita admits he is playing catch-up against his close friend and Norwich City midfielder Leroy Fer as the duo battle it out for a call-up to Holland's squad for next summer's World Cup finals.

Leroy Fer of Norwich and Kim Bo-Kyung of Cardiff in action during the Barclays Premier League match

Leroy Fer of Norwich and Kim Bo-Kyung of Cardiff in action during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The pair could come face-to-face at St James' Park this afternoon in a rivalry which goes right back to their days of youth football in Holland. Anita is one possible option for Magpies' chief Alan Pardew to replace the suspended Mathieu Debuchy at right-back against the Canaries and the 24-year-old knows he must become a regular to make any impression on national boss Louis Van Gaal ahead of the countdown to Brazil.

Anita was a spectator again after being omitted for Holland's latest friendlies against Japan and Colombia over the past fortnight.

Fer did earn a late injury call-up and featured against the South Americans in a goalless midweek draw following on from his recent return to the fold for the final World Cup qualifiers after an impressive start to his Norwich career.

Anita was part of the provisional Dutch squad for the previous World Cup in South Africa before missing the final cut and the former Ajax utility player does not wish to go through the same experience.

'I can't afford to think about the World Cup right now, I think about Newcastle,' he said. 'If I play a lot here, maybe I get a call from the coach from Holland, and then we look forward. But I take it step by step. First is Newcastle, and to play games here. The club is more important for me than the national team now.

'I must do my best here first, and then we can see what's next. Of course I will support them and hopefully they will do well and keep on going.'

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French club-mate Yohan Cabaye is set to feature on the global stage after inspiring his country to a 3-2 World Cup play-off aggregate success over Ukraine.

Cabaye is part of a large Newcastle contingent who can make it to Brazil and the midfielder believes that underlines the quality within Pardew's ranks.

'The World Cup is a long time away but I cannot wait,' he said. 'It is a big competition for every football player - the biggest - and I want to be in it. I am very happy and am now waiting for the draw to find out which teams we are going to play.

'It is good for the club that so many players could be going. We know we are a good team with good players and so it is no surprise that Newcastle will have so many at the World Cup.

'We will be representing Newcastle United as well as our countries when we are out in Brazil.'

France became the first European nation ever to come back from a two-goal first leg deficit in their World Cup play-off tie, but the ex-Lille playmaker revealed 'Les Bleus' were convinced they could prevail with goals from Mamadou Sakho, Karim Benzema and Oleh Husyev's own goal capping a remarkable night in Paris.

'It is a nice feeling because we were 2-0 down before the second leg and it was going to be difficult to come back,' said the midfielder. 'We did the right things in the game to get through. We always believed.

'The spirit from everyone was amazing, from start to finish, and we were very confident. We knew we would get chances to score and once the first goal went in we pushed on and managed to win.'

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