I want anybody who steps onto the pitch in black and white to do well but the Luuk De Jong story is a sad indictment on how Newcastle’s season has fallen apart.
To give both De Jong and Newcastle the very best chance of success, surely it was essential that he arrived at the very start of the transfer window and give him time to slowly assimilate into a team that was doing well? Player frozen out of his club’s plans and desperate for games, Borussia Monchengladbach were never going to stand in the way of any move.
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It gets worse, despite never starting a game all season and with only 72 minutes of Bundesliga football since the summer, De Jong is thrown into the poisonous atmosphere of the Sunderland match with Newcastle already two down.
De Jong had trained for the first time with his new teammates only 48 hours beforehand and not surprisingly didn’t look great, especially with the shambles of the rest of the team. Sadly, even during those first 45 minutes I heard some fans already slagging him off as useless. How many players, especially from abroad, have we seen never having a hope in hell as they are given no chance to ease their way in?
Two more totally anonymous performances have followed against both Chelsea and Spurs, De Jong looking really poor and so fitting in with his new teammates!
In advance of Villa though, this is what De Jong has had to say;
“It is a club (Newcastle) that really wants me, it is a great club.
“I am already enjoying my time here and I have a good feeling about it. Newcastle have been after me for a few years and that gives me a good feeling, it is a great place to be.
“I just want to score goals, show my talent and be successful again, that is why I am here.
“My goal scoring record in Holland was very good, hopefully I can show that here.
“I want to be on that pitch, score goals and to be an important part of the team. If that goes well there is a chance I could go to the World Cup.”
Another problem is that in a really poor and misguided/doomed attempt at generating some positive spin for the club, the Newcastle United press office make available De Jong for quotes like those above.
Having played in three desperate defeats and looking really poor himself, the striker is then quoted saying how he is ‘enjoying my time here’, if only the fans could say the same at the minute.
A bit like the terrible quotes from Remy about how great it was to now be at Newcastle, they very much stick in the throat when players have turned Newcastle down to go elsewhere and only end up on our doorstep when they meet troubles elsewhere.
I hope De Jong does reinvent himself and be a massive success, but even in the poor Dutch league, the striker only has one season to brag about. In his breakthrough season he did score 25 goals but nothing much before (15 goals in 57 league games) or since (6 goals in 39 league matches).
Newcastle should have kept him under wraps and then when/if he starts knocking goals in, wheel him out and give us some feelgood factor. Doing so now simply makes the player & club look stupid and De Jong simply a pawn in bigger game.
As for De Jong’s hopes of going to the World Cup – so have I!
Luuk has never started a game for the senior Holland team and in total has spent just 97 minutes on the pitch for that senior team.
His last international pitch time was nearly two and a half years ago on 11 October 2011. So even in that breakthrough season of 25 goals in Holland, De Jong was never seen as a serious contender for the Dutch team.
Getting hammered every week for Newcastle and running around aimlessly, I think it would be prudent for De Jong to wait a bit longer before he starts packing his suitcase for Brazil.
It will have to be some twelve match run that takes him past the likes of Van Persie, Kuyt, Robben and Huntelaar.
The moral of the story is that players have to be looked after and nurtured rather than taken advantage of and sacrificed for short-term cover on the shambles at Newcastle United.
Good luck Luuk, I think you’ll need it.