Is Siem de Jong the most unlucky footballer ever to pull on a black and white shirt? He’s never strung a decent run of games together because of his ridiculous injuries – the collapsed lung and almost losing his eye being the most memorable.
But De Jong is fit (ish) again and ready for selection, so here’s five reasons why Benitez should start him against Norwich?
When De Jong made his £6million switch from Ajax in 2014, it looked like Newcastle had signed a real player.
He was Dutch international, he had captained his club side to the Eridivise title on a number of occasions, and had also led them out in Champions League experience. He was EVEN dubbed on the ever-accurate Football Manager as a bang tidy player. It was little wonder why Alan Pardew was talking about building the team around him.
Although since his arrival he hasn’t quite lived up to the hype, it’s hard to pass judgement on a player who hasn’t really had a fair run of games to prove his worth.
I like it when Newcastle buy captains (especially because a dead cow could do a better job than Coloccini).
Different players act differently when they’re wearing the armband, but whether he lead by example, or rallied players with shouting, the fact that De Jong was Ajax skipper means he was trusted by his previous manager.
Siem has showed a strong attitude during his Newcastle career, and is one of the players who genuinely acts like he cares. Earlier in the season he actually ASKED to play for the under-21s to get match fit, and he’s not afraid of a bit of honesty when talking to the press.
In the relegation run-in, we need as many strong characters as possible.
3: When he was playing earlier in the season, the team won some games
Do you remember that brief spell when the Toon beat Liverpool and Spurs (away…again) in a row?
De Jong started both of those games and although he may not have scored, we bagged six points against two top-half teams.
I don’t think anyone is expecting him to take on three players and bang them inlike Gini can (at home, at least…), but he definitely brings something to the table.
4: Freeing up Perez
I like Perez, and think he’ll be a hell of a player for the Toon, but I think we all forget how young he is. At just 22, he has had less than two seasons in the Premier League, and we’re putting a fair bit of pressure on him asking him to fire us to safety.
As such, starting De Jong and using Perez as an impact sub could be the way to go. With his pace, skill and finishing, he can be a great impact player.
Perez is frightening to tired defenders and he could bag some late goals…just like he did in the 2-0 win over Spurs.
5: The link between midfield and attack
Newcastle’s problem all season is that we’ve lacked creativity. Wijnaldum was the spark early in the season, but apart from him we’ve struggled – especially away.
Signing Shelvey has helped with him coming deep to collect the ball and spraying his sometimes-orgasmic passes, to bring the rest of the team into play. But this is easy to work out and Shelvey isn’t going to bag two assists per game.
De Jong could take some pressure off Jonjo by becoming the link between midfield and attack.
Late on in the game against the Mackems he picked the ball up and slotted a lovely pass down the left wing. We need to see more of that if we’re going to score the goals to keep us in the Premier League.
What do you think? Should we start De Jong, or is he too slow and unfit to make an impact?