The 24-year-old former Ajax midfielder has had to remain patient since his £6.7million switch to St James' in August 2012, but Pardew has kept a close eye on his development and is confident he can do a job for him.
He said: "It's been good for him because he has made himself stronger in the gym and he's had a little bit more time to reflect on some performances last year, where I think he struggled a little bit.
"This year, you have to pay tribute to him because he has been a lot, lot better and he is pushing for a place.
"I would expect him to get 20, 25 appearances this year and for a second year at a big club, that's a good start."
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