Of the many players glad to see the back of Steve McClaren, Siem de Jong must have been near the top of the list.

In the wake of McClaren’s sacking, de Jong revealed that despite being back at full fitness and available, the former Head Coach left the Dutch international out of the 18 man squad that faced Bournemouth – preferring the likes of Riviere, Gouffran and Doumbia.

Siem de Jong says that all the players have been impressed by the changes Rafa Benitez has brought with him and the former Ajax Captain says that he thinks that the way the former Real Madrid wants to play the game, is ‘a good way’.

The midfielder says that now all the players have a ‘new opportunity to prove themselves’ and de Jong himself was back in the squad at Leicester and looked decent when he came off the bench, failing to connect properly with a late chance that would have given Newcastle a valuable point.

Remarkably, Siem de Jong hasn’t been on a losing side for Newcastle in the Premier League games he has started this season, playing in the draw against Villa and the wins over Liverpool and Spurs.

Siem de Jong is hoping to get his chance against Sunderland and hopefully extend that unbeaten run in Premier League starts, with no doubt plenty of interest from fans when it comes to who Rafa Benitez will pick in this vital game, now he has been at Newcastle for nine days (by the time Sunday comes around) and had the benefit of that Leicester match as well as training sessions.

Siem de Jong speaking to the official club website:

“Always when a new manager comes, things change, and a lot of times when a new manager comes in you see people, even in training, with a different sort of spirit.

“Everybody knows who he is and where he has worked.

“He has worked at the top teams in the world so for us it’s good to have a manager like that. Hopefully he can help us get the much needed points.

“Everyone’s got to show themselves again, everyone’s got a new opportunity to prove themselves so I think competition will go up in the team and it will only be good for the performances, hopefully.

“The manager has his way how he wants to play and I think it is a good way – he really tries to put his mark on the team.

“We need to show it on the pitch – hopefully I’ll get my minutes in the coming games and hopefully I can help the team as much as I can, we need everybody to be ready.

A new manager brings new opportunities for everybody, so everybody will be willing to show what they can do so we’ll see next game what happens.

“It’s the next game, so it’s the most important one. Of course it’s Sunderland and there’s going to be a lot of talk about it, but for us it’s the next important game.

“We’ve got nine games to go, so we’re focused on the next one and we need the points. It doesn’t matter who you are up against.”

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