SIEM de Jong believes he can become a leader at Newcastle United after being named as vice-captain, writes MILES STARFORTH.
The midfielder has joined Cheick Tiote as understudy to skipper Fabricio Coloccini as boss Alan Pardew looks for his senior players to step up to the mark this season.
De Jong only arrived on Tyneside a fortnight ago in a £6m move from Ajax.
But he has made such an impression in his first two weeks that Pardew has had no hesitation in handing the 25-year-old extra responsibility.
The challenge sits easy with the Dutch international, who was handed the armband at Ajax when he was just 23, and led them to a pair of Eredevisie titles in his two years as captain.
Now he hopes to take his leadership experience into his new club, and forge a close working relationship with Pardew and his team-mates.
“I learned a lot at Ajax,” said De Jong. “I started as a young guy and grew into a captain and I think that changed me as a person.
“I think I can help players, and I also talked a lot with the trainer the last two years about how to play and he asked me a lot about what I thought about the team, so I hope I can build up that relationship here with the players and the trainer.
“Of course, I have to prove myself first and play well and then earn the trust of the trainer and the players.”
While Coloccini remains Pardew’s right-hand man, the Newcastle boss is keen to have more lieutenants on the pitch and in the dressing room this season, having lost Yohan Cabaye and Shola Ameobi, while experienced French full-back Mathieu Debuchy is set to join Arsenal this week.
Pardew said: ”I have great faith in Fabricio Coloccini, but we have also announced two official vice-captains in Cheick Tiote and Siem de Jong, who was captain at Ajax, giving us three players from different areas of the pitch to take that bit of extra responsibility.
“Coloccini is a relatively quiet lad who leads by example and presence and his calmness on the ball.
“The most vocal guy does not necessarily mean the best leader, although previously we had Kevin Nolan, who was very vocal in the dressing room and a great organiser of the group.”