De Jong will provide spark for Newcastle United

DOUBTFUL ... Newcastle's Siem de Jong.
DOUBTFUL ... Newcastle's Siem de Jong.
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SIEM de Jong is short of fitness after an injury-hit 12 months - but he’s still big on ideas.

And the forward is ready to take the game to Newcastle United’s opponents.

De Jong was handed his full debut in Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup win over Gillingham.

The 25-year-old, having fully recovered from the calf injury which saw him miss much of pre-season, could make his first Premier League start in this afternoon’s home game against Crystal Palace.

United manager Alan Pardew won’t expect too much, too soon from the Holland international, who suffered a collapsed lung a year ago and missed the first part of former club Ajax’s campaign.

But de Jong, even at 90 per cent fitness, can have a big influence on the pitch, according to Pardew.

“You have to remember he missed a lot of last year,” said Pardew.

“And I wouldn’t say he is 100 per cent at the moment in terms of his thinking and his brightness.

“But he’s still a very effective player at 80 or 90 per cent, and I’m pretty sure he will feature on Saturday at some point.”

Should de Jong - whose brother Luuk had a loan spell at United in the second half of last season - start against Palace, he is likely to again be handed the No 10 role behind lone striker Emmanuel Riviere.

Meanwhile, Pardew again refused to discuss the future of Hatem Ben Arfa at his pre-match Press conference.

Ben Arfa has been with the club’s development squad since reporting back for pre-season training last month.

The forward - who fell out of favour last season - is available for transfer.

Ben Arfa scored a fine individual goal for the club’s Under-21s in a 4-2 home win over Reading on bank holiday Monday.

But there is no chance of a recall for the 27-year-old, who could yet leave the club before Monday night’s transfer deadline.

Pardew said: “All the reserves played well.

“Arma (Adam Armstrong) was terrific, and so was Sammy Ameobi and Haris (Vuckic). It was a game we dominated, but they still played well. He (Ben Arfa) played in his normal position.”

Asked about Ben Arfa’s future, he added: “I don’t really want to comment on any player.”