Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

What Now for Enigma Man?

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

What Now for Enigma Man?

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Patrick Kluivert's performances for Newcastle have started to justify his reputation. So why is he suggesting he has changed his mind about staying? Luke Edwards reports.

Patrick Kluivert returned to Newcastle United's starting line-up in his native Holland last week with a passionate plea to be allowed to remain at the club next season.

Three days later, just minutes after scoring the most important goal of his Magpies career, the Dutchman suggested he may seek another club at the end of the season.

Having insisted playing in the Premiership was a dream come true on his arrival and again last week, the 28-year-old, in his most successful week at St James's Park, appeared to have a sudden change of heart.

Despite scoring against Chelsea and setting up both Newcastle's goals in the 2-1 win over Heerenveen in the first leg of Uefa Cup tie, Kluivert claimed he was unsure he was suited to the physical demands of the Premiership.

Having asked to stay when it seemed the club was losing patience with him and his pounds 67,000-a-week wage packet, Kluivert's reaction to the realisation that United may now want to take up the two-year option on his contract, was to hint he may leave.

A forward with one of the best goals-per-game records in international football ( 40 in 79 appearances ( he no longer makes the Dutch squad because he is deemed to have an attitude problem.

At 28, the product of the famous Ajax youth system should be at the peak of his career. His goals ratio in his debut season in English football is respectable, nine in 20 starts, but it is hardly earth-shattering and Kluivert has been dogged by niggling injuries and inconsistent displays.

"He has a lot of ability but it has not been showed yet by him," said his former international teammate, Middlesbrough striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

"I know what he can do. You have to ask him whether he wants to go back to his best form. He is playing for a wonderful club, so there is no lack of motivation. …

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