Alan Pardew says Davide Santon has been a 'revelation' for Newcastle United this season after settling into English football.
Santon joined the Magpies from Inter Milan in the summer of 2011 but it took time for him to become established as a regular in the side.
Pardew believes there is still work for the 21-year-old to do to improve his game, but has noticed a huge improvement during the early part of this campaign.
The full-back's attacking play has caught the eye and Pardew feels he is benefiting from a happier life away from the pitch after adapting to the local culture.
"Davide looks to be in a good place right now and I'm really pleased with him," the Newcastle manager said in The Sun.
"His language skills have improved and he has a North-East girlfriend cooking him some nice pies, so he's a bit happier.
"I'm so pleased for him. He's a lovely lad, he loves the area and does a great job for us. He's really growing into his role and is very effective for us - he's been a revelation so far this season.
"He was still a boy last year but he's starting to play like a man."
Pardew added: "His raids down the left-hand side are becoming more potent. He still has lots to learn to be a top Italian full-back but he's making some inroads."