Siem de Jong arrived at Newcastle United last summer with a lot of expectation weighing on his shoulders, expected to provide much of the creativity and playmaking that had left with Yohan Cabaye some six months previously.

Sadly, the injury problems he’d experienced in his final season at Ajax, simply multiplied when he arrived on Tyneside – the Dutch midfielder managing only 147 minutes spread over four Premier League appearances, with home to Crystal Palace the only time he started a league game (he also started at Gillingham in the League Cup).

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Going into the pre season schedule, Siem de Jong said he was happy with his progress coming back from his injury-riddled season, but that he needed to add that extra something, that burst of energy to trouble the opposition.

De Jong has featured in all four friendlies so far:

First 45 minutes against Gateshead

First 72 against Club Atlas

First 69 v Sacramento Republic

Last 15 minutes against Portland Timbers (second team)

siem de jong

No dramatic visible signs of reaction to his previous injuries/ailments but along with other players, Steve McClaren restricted his time on the artificial pitch on Tuesday at Portland.

Whenever I have seen Newcastle fans putting up their ideal/fantasy team for the coming season – now including Mitrovic, Wijnaldum and Mbemba (just arrived in Newcastle), the name of Siem de Jong (pictured above doing his exercises when getting over his second collapsed lung) appears in every single one.

I don’t know whether it is partly because we now live in an age where people play Football Manager and similar simulation games where you pick players & formations and reality doesn’t interfere…but Siem de Jong has shown absolutely nothing in these four friendlies to suggest he will contribute very much at all in the near future.

Of course we all hope that he will be the effective goalscoring midfielder that he was in Holland but hoping is a bit different to actually looking the part.

It was always going to be a massive step up to the Premier League but there has to be real concerns that these injury problems of the last two seasons (collapsed lung x 2, groin injury, thigh injury x 2, hamstring x 3) have left him struggling to get back to the physical state that he was once in.

I think we (fans and especially Steve McClaren) have to guard against expecting too much of Siem de Jong, if necessary he has to be left out at the start of the season and allowed to ease his way in.

Hopefully these last three friendlies will see a rapid improvement but I just can’t see it.

We all know that Siem de Jong is a far better player than any of us have seen so far in black and white, he just needs our patience to be able to have the best chance of showing it, eventually.

I trust Steve McClaren far more than I ever did Alan Pardew, his record of playing players when they weren’t physically 100% was atrocious.

So kids, when you are picking your fantasy 11 for Newcastle United, remember life is often far harsher than your imagination.

  • NottsToon

    De Jong was actually very good in the Sacramento game, he played some fantastic balls into the box which Cisse failed to capitalise on.
    There are many unknowns with him, first and most obviously he needs to stay fit, but if he can form a partnership with a striker his intelligence will add much more craft to the attack.

  • Paul Handy

    Lets see how he is after a run of games. Pretty unfair to judge until now.

  • Polarboy

    I think that the writer could do with taking his own advice about jumping the gun. Doubting what Siem’s contribution will be going into the new season based on some minutes in friendlies is ridiculous. Surely there is a middle ground to be found. Of course he might take a bit longer than some to kick into gear but by the same token he will be chomping at the bit to prove his worth. Siem explained that the reason for his consistent injuries was coming back too early from the first collapsed lung. 
    He had decided against surgery based on the advice that it was unlikely to reoccur. Now of course it did reoccur and compounded his problems. As of now he has had the surgery and is going through a pre-season with a coaching and medical staff of supposedly a higher quality. I think we should have faith in the assessment of his own injuries and give him the benefit of the doubt in all other respects.

  • MrDolf

    Agree totally. Many people cute Woodgate as Newcastle’s best ever defender but the lack of quality back up for the huge amount of games he missed injured cost us. More so when all our eggs went in one basket with Michael Owen, whose atrocious injury record reduced him to a bit part player.
    Perma-crocks can bolster the squad if they do put a run of games together but they cannot be central to the game plan

  • Polarboy

    MrDolf There isn’t sufficient evidence to label De Jong a permacrock as of yet as I explain below.

  • Nutisbak2

    I have no doubts that Siem will have an outstanding season this time around, hopefully his injury issues are now behind him and he can just get on with playing football.

    In the previous games he might not have looked to have done much however I don’t know if the writer of this article bothered to watch the last game? It was with Siem De Jongs coming on that a 2nd wind hit an already down and beaten Newcastle.

    He’s the captain and motivator the team look like they need at times and for me he’s a standout candidate for captain.

  • Ollie Burtons Grandad

    De Jong was a typical Fatman buy; reduced price due to dodgy injury record (Lets be honest he was not the first but hopefully will be the last of that type of signing). Fingers crossed he will be a useful member of the squad this season and hopefully he is no longer made of glass

  • Andgeo

    This team would do me:
    **New centre half
    **New left back
    With darlow, woodman, Taylor, colo, dummet, haidara, Anita, Cabella, obertan, Perez, de Jong, Armstrong and cisse as back up we would be looking stronger than last year.
    Strengthening the defence and release of will-I-am-gone and gouffran has to be the priority now.

  • Polarboy

    Ollie Burtons Grandad His injury record and number of games played before the collapsed lung was normal and that issue has been resolved.

  • SaveNUFC

    Andgeo Abeid? I think he’s overrated. He really slows down the game. Against Portland Timbers he was so slow in passing the ball (Somewhat similar to Arteta slowing down Arsenal play. ). His vision is also so short sighted he can’t find the right person to pass the ball to. For me if Tiote is fit I’ll use him but he too slows down the game by passing the ball backwards too much. We need a good holding/defensive mf.

  • Ollie Burtons Grandad

    Polarboy I can only suggest you get your facts right mate. In the 11 months prior to signing for NUFC Siem had been injured for 120 days (4 Months) with Groin injury, Thigh Injury and a collasped lung (All which resurfaced last season).
    A decent player when fit but the question is will he stay fit?
    Oh aye, If you call 4 months out injured in an 11 month period normal then you must have a shite sick record at work.

  • GarethMarshall

    Respectfully, you are talking utter nonsense. De Jong has looked very impressive in the pre season friendlies so far. In games where 2nd string teams have been the order of the day, he has looked promising, linking up the play well between the full back/cb/dcm and spreading it out to the wide men. The only thing he is guilty of is his physical shape, he does look like he needs to work on his conditioning, but considering his injuries that you have listed above, is it really any wonder?
    You do not captain Ajax if you are not good enough for the premier league. Baring any injury setbacks, he is going to be epic this year in my opinion and personally, I cannot wait to see him playing week in week out.

  • SaveNUFC

    Siem has a huge responsibilities. The way I see it if he’s fit and back to his form it’ll totally make a difference in the end result. Explanation- Apart from our weak defense in the back the defensive/holding midfield is the area we are weak at the moment. Why? Because Abeid is too short sighted and Tiote is too clumsy. Both of them slows down the tempo too much with their frequent back passes (not saying back passing is bad). Nobody knows the present form of Tiote and maybe Abeid is not made for EPL. So the best option is to use Gini (box to box) alongside Colback (entrust the defensive duty mostly to him). This is possible only when Siem is fit so that he can play the no.10 role. Of course Cabella/Sissoko can play the no.10 role but the potency of a fully fit Siem will be much more than lightweight Cabella and sometimes clumsy Sissoko. Sissoko is good in penetrating the defense with his runs but he is not the one who is good in supplying deadly through balls like when Siem was doing in Ajax. For all this we need Siem to be fit. 

    My ideal lineup with the present players including Mbemba will be:

    ___________Aarons___________(in form) SDJ__________Sissoko
    ___Haidara_____Dummett/ in form Coloccini______Mbemba____Djanmaat

  • Polarboy

    Ollie Burtons Grandad Polarboy You’ve jumped the gun with your indignation mate, go read my main comment below. Siem explained that his niggling injuries started to occur after the FIRST lung collapse which is what I was referring to. The seconfd lung collapse is of course just a recurrence of the same problem but he’s had surgery this time which will insure that it won’t happen again. Before his collapsed lung and after he’d established himself he’d averaged about 45 games over three seasons.

  • SaveNUFC

    Another formation

    ___________Aarons___________(in form) SDJ__________Sissoko
    ____Haidara________New CH_______Mbemba_______Djanmaat

  • magpiefifer

    The trouble is the word IF – if he’s fit! I said on these boards after we’d signed him that,although potentially a very good signing, there was a big risk factor with his injury history.Yes,he’s been unlucky with the problems he’s had,but he was a risky signing – and time will tell whether he has been a good signing or not.I’d love to see him being a success for us, but I just have a horrible feeling that he may not spend enough time on the pitch to be a great signing.

  • Polarboy

    Ollie Burtons Grandad Just in case, for clarifies sake, what I mean to say is that he played about 45 games each of those three seasons.

  • Chemical Dave

    You can’t wait to see him playing week in week out ? Erm, good luck with that one bud.

  • Ashingtonmag23

    Just hpw on earth de jong ended up with a collapsed lung has me a bit mystified. I haven’t seen anything as to how or why this happened as surely its not normal for ones lung to deflate without a severly traumatic injury. My worry is that there is another recurrence and sunsequent lengthy spell on the sidelines. Can anyone shed any light on this?

  • Polarboy

    Ashingtonmag23 I don’t know the particulars of how it happened the first time but I do know that he was told at the time that it was very unlikely to reoccur even without surgery. Of course the worst did happen and it reoccurred, he has since had the surgery to correct it so that should be the end of it.

  • Absolutely love people that read into friendly performances and then preach like they are some kind of genius.

    Obviously when someone is picking their 11 its based on the fact all the players are fit.

    Irrespective of how many minutes he has played for Newcastle I think it is pretty clear he is a more than decent player who if fit should be in the team.

  • Polarboy

    Just to summarize before his two lung collapses he was averaging 45 a season for three seasons, he say’s coming back too early and not getting surgery the first time to correct led to the niggling injuries, and it reoccurring. He’s had surgery to correct it and will have had a full pre-season to get himself right. My opinion is that people should give him the benefit of the doubt and not act as if they are medical experts let alone football ones.

  • GarethMarshall

    Chemical Dave No need to be so positive, eh?! Haha! We will see, but I am hopeful, as you should be.

  • Richysmith100

    A confusing article – essentially telling us all Siem de Jong isn’t that good whilst ending it by informing us he’s better than anything else we have. Confused as to what point that author is trying to make?

  • JohnBatchelor

    I suffered from 3 collapsed lungs before I got surgery to correct the problem. It can happen entirely spontaneously; and although it’s a rare condition fit, tall, young men are the highest risk group by a mile. After surgery the chances of it happening again are very slim indeed. The prevailing theory being that young lads can get fit to the point where their lungs can sustain pressures they can’t handle and *pop*.

  • fireflyuk

    Richysmith100 Not sure what article you were reading, seemed to make sense to me.

  • fireflyuk

    Polarboy 45 games per season? are you sure?

  • fireflyuk

    GarethMarshall Impressive??? Wow, not from what I’ve seen.

  • fireflyuk

    Polarboy MrDolf really?

  • DownUnderMag

    The lad has had his problems, it’s how he comes back from them that will make or break his NUFC career.  He is undoubtedly a talent, and if we get him fit he should be one of our best players, but I don’t think it’s just Siem that we need to temper expectations for.
    Personally, i’m pleased with the three signings so far, but they hardly turn us into world beaters overnight.  I am looking at the coming season as a rebuild job, we need to improve steadily and then the following season we should be better equipped to push on – unless Ashley drops one of his usual clangers and completely undermines the positive work before the season kicks off.
    I agree with Polarboy in that I suspect our players have been rushed back too early from injury while Pardew was struggling to come up with a tactical solution (and required the players to bail him out).

  • v0ices

    fireflyuk Polarboy seems a lot but its possible if you play every league and have cup and europeans runs i guess.

  • Nutisbak2

    Ashingtonmag23  As JohnBatchelor says collapsed lungs can and do happen spontaneously.  Left to naturally repair the chances of a reoccurrence are much higher than if a repair is made surgically. However with each episode of a collapsed lung the chances of it happening again also increase and that is regardless of how the repair was done. If you would like to I can post a journal link which makes some reading if you can understand the science behind things.

  • Nutisbak2

    JohnBatchelor I believe there are also links between connective tissue diseases such as Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Marfans syndrome etc and spontaneous pneumothorax. Whilst after surgery the chances of it happening again are reduced as I understand things each incidence of a collapsed lung increases the likelihood of a recurrence and this is regardless of surgical intervention.

    Hopefully though Siem De Jong and yourself will go the rest of your lives without any recurrences.

  • JohnBatchelor

    No recurrences for me as yet (fingers crossed), I’m 35 now and I’m entirely the wrong side of 30 for a recurrence to be very likely (again, fingers crossed)!
    Connective tissue diseases can be a factor but they would have been diagnosed separately, if our lad was suffering from something like that I doubt UEFA would let him register as a player. Although I don’t know the rules inside out.
    There are two surgical interventions that I’m aware of; plurectomy ang bulectomy. The former removes parts of the plura and adheres the lung directly to the chest wall. The latter is more invasive and attempts to prevent future pneumothorax by removing ‘bubbles’ in the plura. I had both done at the same time. Painful recovery but a lot better than collapsed lungs every two months or so!
    Sorry about the essay!

  • Mickey Walker

    Surely the point in picking “ideal 11s” is that they are all fit/in form otherwise we”d have loads! E.g my ideal 11 whilst tiote is suspended etc.

  • Steve Cross

    Let’s hope McLaren’s fitness coaches can identify the problems and sort them in a sensible way. Images of him training are a huge bonus, even if he’s a sub for the first few months and they reintegrate him from the bench we’ll have an impact player for periods in the game.

  • fireflyuk

    v0ices fireflyuk Polarboy I remember when we signed him saying to people he’s a crock because of his history, I actually predicted that we would be doing well if we got half a season from him.

  • Nutisbak2

    JohnBatchelor  That’s good then…

    Connective tissue diseases (there called diseases but these things are genetic so not catchable) are by their very nature extremely hard to diagnose, Marfans has many characteristics people share and often visual ones so that is one of the easier one’s to get clues for, even so it’s easily missed by specialists and gp’s alike.

    Elhers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) has about 7 different variations already and that’s still going to grow, each form can exhibit characteristics of another. Frequently there are no clues to it (I should know I have type 3) and unless a clued up expert picks up on it or genetic tests are done (and they are only able to test for a few varieties so far) then there is almost no way to diagnose.

    In my case I exhibit “Hypermobility” this means my collagen is much more stretchy than a “normal” persons, this leads to problems (and some can be beneficial). 

    Basically think of an elastic band, you can stretch it, it will spring back, however if you stretch it too far you will damage it. Well my collagen is a bit like this, very stretchy and tends to mean that in movements I can go to the end (where someone normally can’t go further) and then I can over extend into hyperextension.

    Well believe it or not this actually has some benefits and in many sports hypermobility is actually desired, many Dancers actually exhibit hypermobility and many of them suffer EDS, there are also very likely to be a great many footballers playing the game who also suffer from this genetic condition.

    With Marfans you would hope generally speaking Fifa tests would  catch it and not let someone play, however both Marfans and EDS can effect virtually every structure in the human body (because you are made up of collagen fibres) and the heart for instance can be affected. It tends to be the Aorta at the bottom of the heart where it joins (just where it bulges slightly) to diagnose they use an echo cardiogram and measure, if over a certain size the likelihood is you have a big issue.

    I recently went through a scare with this (very scary) only to be ruled out luckily when my consultant decided to order a cardiac MRI and Genetic testing (which it turned out they couldn’t do). The Cardiac MRI showed that my measurements were in the “Norm” although on the larger side.

    Still it made me very aware just how many people doing sports suffer from this completely unaware and the results of something going wrong are horrific, basically the aorta tears at the bulge (just below the heart) and you bleed out very fast.

    There have been numerous cases of basketball players dying on the courts and other sports men and women passing away due to this over the years, yes with testing things are getting better but they will always miss some people.

  • Barnesay

    Isn’t that just the same formation with 1 name change?

  • Polarboy

    fireflyuk Polarboy He played 52, or to be more precise he 52 apps in 10/11, 39 in 11/12 and 47 in 12/13 hence why I said averaging 45.

  • Polarboy

    v0ices fireflyuk Polarboy Well it’ difficult to get the exact minutes played unless you’re on fantasy football or such like but the fact that he was making that many apps should point to his fitness being as good as or better than average, certainly not a crock.

  • Polarboy

    fireflyuk v0ices Polarboy Well that opinion can most likely be traced back to his first lung collapse and his subsequent injuries that season.

  • Polarboy

    fireflyuk Polarboy MrDolf Yes.

  • amacdee

    Ollie Burtons Grandad A typical Fatman buy indeed. If he was going to get f”ked then at least Fatso could pick up the insurance ! SDJ’s last season at Ajax should have told us all something. 28 games in total and most of those at the early stages. I had high hopes for him but I too am leaning towards the belief that injuries have taken their toll. 
    As it stands if he’s not the No.10 then Cabs, when fit, could start there or even Gini if Sissoko leaves so we’re not short of options. Let’s hope the next three friendlies give him a chance to prove some of us wrong ?

  • Mikakaka

    fireflyuk Richysmith100 most the pieces in the Mag are awful; this one is no exception.  The author doesn’t really know what he’s trying to say!

  • LeeMitchell

    Well he scored today.