De Jong has outlined Newcastle’s new playing philosophy under McClaren.
De Jong said: “I think he’s a good coach who really knows what he wants. You saw tonight that we improved on some aspects of the game compared to [last season] especially the end of the season last season. We want to play more from the back and keep the ball a little bit more.
“Of course it’s a little bit new for some players so we need to train and [implement it] in the games as well.”
This is certainly positive news for Newcastle fans, with it looking like a coherent philosophy is set to arrive at St James’ Park.
Under both Alan Pardew and John Carver, the Tyneside club had no real identity, and looked set to fall into the Championship were it not for the heroics of a few select players. The need to finally start moving forward and bringing style back to the club was evident, and hiring McClaren is one step back on that path.
He will not bring instant success, but he has enjoyed great joy with a selection of clubs by building them up into formidable sides. At Derby County he produced a team who arguably played the best football in the Championship, and that kind of style will bring hope back to Magpies fans.
De Jong is perfect for this new system, being a ball-playing playmaker used to attacking styles of football. He struggled last term due to injuries, but if given the chance to prosper under McClaren, it could be the Dutchman who helps ends Newcastle’s years of misery and start sending them back up the Premier League table.