Siem De Jong is back in full training and scored in a behind closed doors game against Carlisle.

Question is, when he is fully fit and available, where is he going to play? Moussa Sissoko (assuming he’s still here) has made the No.10 role his own this season and shoving him anywhere else on the pitch would be a step backwards. Most people would slot De Jong in the No.10 role and then shove Sissoko out wide or into central midfield. I don’t agree.

Sissoko cannot play centre midfield to save his life. Not because he can’t get forward and do some damage from this position but because he can’t defend. At all. He has no awareness of players around him and doesn’t break his back to help out the defence like he does to get forward. The amount of times opposition midfielders just waltz past him into our box is embarrassing. We lost to the mackems because Sissoko was slipped back into centre midfield and it cost us big time.

He lost the ball in the centre of pitch, had no sense of bringing the player down for a professional foul to prevent the counter-attack and then may as well have been invisible with the total lack of picking men up when he ran all the way back into our area.

Just watch the Johnson goal again, focussing on Sissoko. Horrendous. He also has shown not to be the same player once put out wide on the right this season. He just doesn’t have the same impact as driving through the middle like a wrecking ball.

So if Sissoko must stay in the No.10 role, where is De Jong gonna play? He isn’t a disciplined central midfield player, similar to Sissoko, so playing him there would cause more damage than good. He isn’t a winger or even a wide forward designed to cut in to attack at goal. We have better players in this position like Perez, Sammy, Aarons and Obertan when they are fit. So the only logical thing we should do as a club is mould Siem De Jong into a centre-forward. Here’s why:

He’s a finisher. He has proven over the years at Ajax that he knows where the back of the net is. That’s why we bought him. People say he is a Cabaye type replacement, he isn’t. He is more Kevin Nolan than he is Yohan Cabaye. Coming in from deep to score. There are no worries that given a chance he would stick it away more often than not.

He can hold the ball up. He is decent on the ball and if played up to him, you would expect it to stick. He offers this better than Cisse who can have no touch whatsoever on some days and Ayoze Perez is just too lightweight to play up front on his own. He’s a battler and likes to run in behind defences, not chest the ball down with a big lump of a centre back up his arse.

He’s good in the air. De Jong can head it, very well. He has scored his fair share of headers and gives us this threat in the box for any crosses that come into the area. Something Perez doesn’t and Cisse isn’t exactly Les Ferdinand when he gets up there. I think I only remember Cisse scoring a couple of headers since he has been here. De Jong will attack any ball in the box and hang there like Shearer.

newcastle line upFact is we don’t have many reliable strikers at the club and we won’t be signing any in January, so moulding De Jong would, in the words of Alan Pardew, be like a brand new signing.

Centre forwards are hard to come by and expensive. Even when we do go out and sign one it might not work, just as it hasn’t with Riviere. De Jong is one of the few top class players we have in our squad and if we were to be able to play him up front, whilst keeping Sissoko in his best position, then have the likes of Perez and Aarons around them, this excites me.

That could be an attacking line-up to give any team a run for their money. We always have the option of Cisse making his late sub appearance to add to that and others like Obertan and Sammy to mix things up. Our season is pretty much over. A few more wins would see us safe so unless we have a meltdown of results and get dragged into a relegation fight, John Carver could show off his coaching abilities and have a go with De Jong up front. What exactly do we have to lose?

End of day…he can’t be any worse than his brother!

You can follow the author on Twitter @ToonBano plus he has his very own blog www.toonbano.com

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  • Robby Bobson

    I disagree with playing De Jong up front.
    Im not saying they are in the same class but i hate it when Germany play Muller up front and why Nolan is not a striker despite being a clinical finisher.
    This is because these three players make their mark on games by arriving at the right place at the right time, arriving into the box to score. When they are already up there, it takes away this massive part of his game.
    Also i think we lack that pass, that little but of intelligence deeper, look at soton we had alot of the ball but soton sat back when they went a goal ahead and sissoko or cabella arent going to run through two banks four, hopefully De Jong can help with that.
    But will be interesting to see where all these players fit, may be an option if De Jong flops at no.10

  • Nicolaus Copernicus

    Interesting point of view.
    You (the article) talk of De Jong as if you know his game well. That may well be the case but what you don’t know is how well he will fit into the Premier League and, perhaps more importantly, how quickly.
    I actually disagree with you on Perez. He may look light but he is certainly not a lightweight. He has been asked to play the lone striker role for us, a role that was unfamiliar to him when he took it on, but he’s blossomed into the position and made it his own. At this point I don’t see why we would discard him and try De Jong to see if he, too, can play in that role, equally unfamiliar to him.
    As for this magical number 10 position that is all the vogue these days, what is really meant by it is an attacking central midfielder. If a team plays only one central attacker there is scope to have two central midfielders playing behind him, and there’s no reason why De Jong and Sissoko can’t both fit that berth behind Perez.

  • tbpierrot

    Interesting enough, for sure. I’d look towards the example of Spurs right now though as the best example of how to set up a number of attacking midfielders behind a lone striker. What I saw of Eriksen and Dembele – both central players, both played in an attacking 3 – was very impressive. Obviously neither Perez nor Cisse offers what Kane does in the lone striker role, but with Colback and Abeid (or Anita?) behind Sissoko, De Jong and either Cabella, Aarons, Ameobi, Perez, Gouffran or Obertan, we’d have a dynamic forward 4 with finishing ability, pace, power and a range of passing. Either Sissoko or De Jong nominally to start through the centre but allow all 3 behind the striker to interchange, create space for one another and attack from different positions. De Jong and Sissoko won’t produce their best work from wide positions, but rather think of it as a system where they’re encouraged to find the space that best suits them at any given moment – with 3 such different styles, raw power from Sissoko, intelligent playmaking from De Jong, and flair and dynamism from Cabella or Aarons, they’d be a handful for any defence. Maybe I’m being tactically naieve, and there’s certainly a place for out and out wide players in the modern game, but since our best attacking players are all fairly central, I’d suggest keeping the natural wide men as alternatives from the bench rather than starters and using a relatively narrow attacking 4 with width from Janmaat and Haidara.

  • Paul Patterson

    I like a different view and this one is just that.
    But, I still like the idea, if were not going to play with wingers (Which I would personally prefer) then why not try Cabella, De Jong and Sissoko behind Perez? 4-2-3-1 if you like.
    Colback and Anita defending/attacking depending on how the games going and feeding De Jong, Cabella and Sissoko to run at the defence with Perez as the ‘fox in the box’.
    Then if things aren’t working out, bring Obertan and Ameobi on later on and play them wide to stretch the game . .

  • jpgr

    I agree that sissoko is terrible defensively and disappointingly can’t “boss” the midfield. I also think he is poor at holding the ball up (his first touch can be dire) so playing him higher up the pitch is problematic. His great attribute is pace, power and directness so how do you harness that without putting pressure on the team as a whole? Maybe 4-3-1-2. Three midfielders say colback, tiote and abeid, then sissoko,  de jong and perez. Also solves the problem of not having enough players in the box when we eventually get the ball in. Fullbacks are attackking so can provide width.

    Still like another post I like wingers! So maybe drop him altogether and play 4-4-2. Same two up top. Cabella and Aarons wide, tiote colback in the middle.

  • DownUnderMag

    I do agree somewhat, but I do feel Sissoko is best in central midfield, but agree he isn’t quite at the level defensively we would require and let’s be fair he will probably be leaving in the summer anyway.

    But one thing is for sure, we can’t play with wingers.  Not only do we not have anyone who can cross to save their life, but we don’t have enough tall timbre or players who are good in the air to play well with wingers.

    Playing a 4-2-3-1 like Paul Patterson suggested is a much more favourable formation if we refuse to address the winger situation, refuse to play two up front or refuse to just play an old fashioned 4-4-2. 

    Something like this:

  • GToon

    Dont post things like this!!!!! You’ll convince Ashley we have too many players and he’ll sell another!!!!

  • ToonBano

    This will no doubt be the team carver resortes to when he is fit. But I think we need aarons and perez in the wider positions. Pace skill amd direct at goal.
    The fact we have ganes to try new things I cant see why not. We arent going down now

  • Twoforjoy

    At least it will give us options during a game, something we haven’t had for a while. Also injuries will also play apart. But I would like carver to have a go and try out different line ups.

  • IndianToon

    ToonBano DownUnderMag Wat say this? aarons/Sammy can switch with Perez when needed, DeJong with Cisse..