By Dominic Toner

Rafael Benitez has praised the professionalism of Yoan Gouffran after his terrific start to the season.

The experienced Frenchman has started the Championship season in good form after enduring a difficult campaign last year in Newcastle’s relegation from the Premier League.

Gouffran, 30, scored a phenomenal volley from a Jonjo Shelvey corner in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Derby, which leaves them second in the table after six games.

Newcastle manager Benitez has described Gouffran as a “professional” at a media conference on Monday, as quoted by the personal Twitter account of Chronicle journalist Lee Ryder.

The attacker has already made five appearances this season and is becoming a crucial part of Benitez’s team.

Benitez has used new signings Matt Ritchie, Mohamed Diame alongside Gouffran as a dangerous attacking line up.

Gouffran moved to St James’ Park in the 2013 winter window in a £1.4million move from French side Bordeaux.

He has featured in 101 encounters for the north east side since his move and scored 12 goals in the process.

Newcastle have now won their last four league games as they start to live up to the pre-season favourites as champions.

In other Newcastle team news, Benitez has explained the turnaround form of Jonjo Shelvey.