Newcastle United have given a return schedule for Siem De Jong, as he continues his comeback from the early season thigh injury that has blighted his first season at St. James’ Park.
The good news is that the Dutch international is on his way back but sadly we are still looking at March before he may be fully fit, with John Carver admitting that De Jong is ‘still a little bit off at the moment’.
The former Ajax man is out in Dubai with the rest of the squad (excluding the Captain Fabricio Coloccini) but Carver says he still needs a few games for the reserves before a gradual easing back into the first team.
“Having him (Siem De Jong), Mehdi Abeid and Sammy Ameobi fit again just adds to the group.
“He seems a huge character and a good talker who pops in every morning for a chat – one of the big characters in the dressing room.
“We need him fully fit though and I think he has got to have two or maybe three Under 21 games, then maybe 45 minutes, 70 minutes and then a full game – he is still a little bit off at the moment.”
The next scheduled competitive under 21 matches are this coming Saturday at Reading, then home to West Brom on February 2 and Arsenal February 9.
Hard to see United sending him all the way to Reading for such a match so unless there are any behind closed doors friendlies arranged, we are definitely looking to mid-February or later when De Jong will be phased back into the first team. Fixtures in February see United play Palace (11 Feb), Man City (21 Feb) and Aston Villa (28 Feb) before a home match with Manchester United on March 4.
Within the current squad, a lot rests on Siem De Jong coming back fully fit AND justifying the pre-season optimism that he was a player who could fill a Yohan Cabaye size hole in the team.