FIT-again Siem de Jong is brains over brawn – and he’ll make Newcastle United tick.
That’s the view of John Carver, who has welcomed de Jong – who suffered a collapsed lung two months ago – back into his squad.
The forward’s first season at St James’s Park has been blighted by a series of injuries.
De Jong, signed from Ajax last summer, had a long spell out early in the campaign after suffering a thigh injury.
United head coach John Carver, a long-time admirer of the technically-gifted Holland international, admits there is still a question mark over de Jong’s physicality.
But he believes what de Jong, on the bench for this afternoon’s Premier League home game against Swansea City, lacks in brawn, he makes up with “a sharp brain”.
“He’s a talent – he’s quality,” said Carver. “He’s a creative type of player.
“Siem hasn’t played a (full) Premier League game yet, but what he’s got is such a sharp brain.
“He’s technically very good, and we can put him in to a system where he might not put in the ground work, but we could fill a team around him.
“You need a creative player in there to win games. He’s not ready to start yet. He needs a 90 minutes.”
De Jong has played two Under-21 games since recovering from surgery on his lung, and the 26-year-old had been pencilled in to play in a game away to Derby County on Tuesday.
But the Under-21 Premier League game has been switched from the iPro Stadium to Alfreton Town’s North Street home, and a behind-closed-doors match will now be arranged for de Jong next week so he can play on a better surface.
“There’s a game at Alfreton, which is a shame. We might need to arrange a game next week for him here,” said Carver.
“He just needs to overcome that psychological hurdle of getting 90 minutes under his belt. “But he’ll certainly be on the bench (against Swansea) – and in my thoughts for 15-20 minutes.”
De Jong – whose brother Luuk had a loan spell at Newcastle last season – first caught Carver’s eye three years ago playing for Ajax against Manchester City.
He scored both Ajax’s goals in a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium.
“I remember sitting watching him play against Man City in the Champions League,” said Carver.
“I thought ‘what a player he is’. If I see anything like that, then I will be delighted.”