Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

United Overlooking Dutch Star De Jong's Abilities as Both a No 10 AND a No 9; Time Former Ajax Star Was Given Chance to Shine before He Leaves Magpies for Pastures New

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

United Overlooking Dutch Star De Jong's Abilities as Both a No 10 AND a No 9; Time Former Ajax Star Was Given Chance to Shine before He Leaves Magpies for Pastures New

Article excerpt

Byline: Lee Ryder Chief Sports Writer lee.ryder@ncjmedia.co.uk

SIEM de Jong has already dropped one broad hint that he could leave Newcastle United.

You can't blame him in some ways, after all he has only started one Premier League game since arriving from Ajax.

That was understandable last season when he suffered injury problems, but since then he has been available for selection for most of the campaign so far. Frustrations in the De Jong camp hit new levels on Saturday night when his brother Luuk appeared to suggest on Twitter either his sibling made a change or Newcastle tried something different.

Either way it was a thinly-veiled swipe at either United or Steve McClaren.

De Jong stated earlier this season that he had been told he was wanted at St James' Park.

But a quick read of the statistics seems to suggest otherwise.

He's never been in the starting XI this season in the top flight, has been an unused sub five times in the Premier League, and the longest run out he's been afforded is 45 minutes.

Granted, De Jong was awful in one of his two starts in the Capital One Cup when he missed two horrendous sitters against Sheffield Wednesday in September.

Yet he definitely has the ability to score goals, and even in difficult times at Newcastle, he has still managed to grab a couple for the first team.

The reason De Jong has not been played though is down to Newcastle's tactical decisions.

It appears that a major overhaul in the system would be required to fit him in.

But Newcastle could still accommodate Gini Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko and De Jong in the same team in a 4-4-1-1 formation.

However, speak to those who know De Jong well in Holland and their response is intriguing. They'll tell you they are amazed Newcastle have not tried De Jong as a striker as part of a 4-4-2 formation.

After being fielded as Ajax's main striker, De Jong said: "The standards for an Ajax No 9 are high."

But he's done the job, and done it well. …

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