The Siem de Jong conundrum
Siem de Jong is a player who could potentially make or break Newcastle’s season.
Scored for fun in Holland as an attacking midfielder and if you look purely at his goals to minutes to ratio at Newcastle, he has kept that form up.
Only problem is that in 14 months at St James Park he has only played 314 competitive minutes for Newcastle, scoring against Swansea last season in the Premier League and Tuesday night v Northampton in the League Cup.
He certainly hasn’t lost his natural goalscoring ability but there are other factors that remain a constant worry, until the Dutch international proves otherwise.
With eight different spells out injured over the course of the last two seasons for Ajax and Newcastle, it isn’t always going to be automatic that any player can return to the same level.
De Jong certainly seems to have it in his head but is his body up to it.
In the pre season friendlies he was used increasingly as an impact sub, coming on for Winaldum a number of times, something that was repeated when Siem de Jong replaced the former PSV man for the final 9 minutes against Southampton on the opening day.
Even though coming on fresh that day against tiring players, he still didn’t look to have the spark, whereas against an admittedly poor Northampton team, he looked to have real quality.
I can’t see Steve McClaren risking de Jong just yet from the start against the likes of Arsenal, having the likes of Ramsey, Sanchez, Ozil, Coquelin and Cazorla constantly snapping at you when in possession, is a world away from the time Siem de Jong and others had against a Northampton team who were beaten from a long way out.
Hopefully it will be a big confidence booster though for the player and who knows, maybe he can have another cameo and come on and score the winner against Arsenal…
Talk though of him playing from the start on Saturday is surely way off the mark, we will need every bit of energy from the likes of Wjnaldum, Colback, Thauvin and others to combat an Arsenal team who are sure to be fully focused on what for them is a poor (4 points from 9) start to the season.
Patience is the word with Siem de Jong and hopefully that will give us long-term rewards.
Siem de Jong:
“The year before with Ajax I had a few injuries but last year I only played three or four game, before that I played 50 games a season, so it was a really strange year.
“You have to move on but especially after the second one (injury), I had just got back and felt really strong, then it happened again.”
Feel like a new signing…:
“I was pretty down for the first couple of weeks but I had to get back and fit again, I thought after a while that it would be for the next (this) season so I was glad to be fit in pre season and fit now.”
“I feel like a new signing a little bit, maybe not in the group, that is why I stayed here last season when I was injured because I wanted to get to know the team and the club.”
Needing the games:
“Most of the year when I was injured I was here, but of course on the pitch I haven’t played at St James Park a lot yet so I hope to get some more games.”
“It has been a while since I have played 90 minutes so it was good for me (Northampton) as I need the games. I want to get in as many games as possible to try and get my rhythm back again – Northampton was a good start.”
In his last five seasons at Ajax, Siem de Jong actually started (in all competitions) 26 matches (2009/10), 50 (10/11), 39 (11/12), 46 (12/13), 25 (13/14).
Of course it is a dilemma for Steve McClaren because how does he get the midfielder up to potential full match fitness if he only is able to risk him starting in League Cup matches every month or so – if we progress beyond Sheffield Wednesday.
At the moment, it would be great to think he could get close to that 25 match total he managed in his last injury-interrupted season in Holland.
(To feature like Sam send in your articles for our website to [email protected] – all views those of the author etc etc)
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]