LUUK de Jong is being backed to bring goals to Newcastle any which way he can – starting against Sunderland!
The Dutch striker this week signed on a half-season loan from Borussia Monchengladbach, where he had fallen out of favour.
And de Jong is expected to be named among the substitutes for tomorrow’s Tyne-Wear derby.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has long coveted the 23-year-old, who he feels is a natural finisher, much like Tottenham and England man Jermain Defoe.
“One thing I like about him is that he’s a natural finisher off three sides – right foot, left foot and head,” Pardew said.
“Not all strikers have that. Jermain Defoe is like that, and Luuk’s like that.
“He can finish of the same standard off each foot, and he’s good in the air.
“Therefore, when chances come, he’s got a high percentage chance of scoring.”
The challenge for de Jong’s new team-mates is give him the ball in the box as often as they can.
“You need to create those chances,” added Pardew.
“He’s not a Hatem (Ben Arfa), and in some ways he’s not a Loic (Remy), either, in terms of manoeuvring the ball. Loic sometimes manoeuvres it and curls it in the far post.
“He’s a finisher, so therefore you need deliveries.
“We’ll have to work that into our game when he plays.”
De Jong talked of being ready to start after signing for Newcastle, but Pardew is likely to err on the side of caution given the Holland international’s lack of games in recent months – and the intensity of the derby.
“Luuk hasn’t had much game action, and this is the Premier League,” he said.
“I might be a better judge than he is, but I like his confidence.”
* Don’t miss tomorrow’s derby special Football Echo – it’s online from around 7pm with the biggest and best coverage of the big day