After starting for the first time this season in Newcastle United’s match against Liverpool, Siem De Jong has admitted to the Chronicle that he needs to improve.
De Jong has struggled for appearances ever since he arrived on Tyneside in the summer of 2014.
The Dutch midfielder has had a series of injury problems, and Steve McClaren has overlooked him for much of this season so far.
However, he impressed when put in Newcastle’s starting XI against Liverpool, and De Jong is now hoping to keep his place for the coming weeks.
“I need to improve my own game as well," he said.
“I think I worked hard off the ball at the weekend, but on the ball I need to improve as well.
“That’s something you can only really get through playing games though.
“Hopefully I can get more games in the coming weeks and help the team as much as possible.”
De Jong’s omission from Newcastle’s team had baffled many of their supporters, as his quality has never been in doubt.
The former Ajax man has generally looked impressive when given a chance, but McClaren clearly had reservations over utilising him from the start.
Those concerns may have eased now, and if De Jong does stay in the team, he will hope to hit form as he regains match sharpness.
Newcastle’s next fixture comes against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, and if they avoid defeat they could move out of the relegation zone.