Siem de Jong explains why he cannot yet start for Newcastle

De Jong is slowly returning to full fitness, but he is still not ready to start for Newcastle.

Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, de Jong admitted that he is not yet starting games because he is still not fully returned to match fitness.

De Jong said: “I’ll try to help the team as much as I can. I don’t think if I’m 90 per cent or 95 per cent that I can help the team [from the start].

“That’s why I need to build up slowly to be ready for the minutes I need to play. If I play 90 minutes now, I wouldn’t help the team as much as I could if I waited just another week maybe.”

The attacking midfielder has already proven his worth to the Magpies this term, despite making just four appearances for the first-team.

Last weekend the Dutchman made his first appearance since August, coming off the bench for the final 16 minutes in the 3-2 defeat to Swansea, and getting on the scoresheet. His goal showed off his positioning and finishing skills, and with attacking play at a real low at St James’ Park, de Jong’s return could not come any sooner.

Able to play in attacking roles, from the midfield to an out-and-out striker, de Jong could prove vital in Newcastle’s attempts to stay in the top flight. He has a good goal and assist record during his time with Ajax - 78 goals and 48 assists in 244 games - and if he can match the goals-to-game ratio of that tally the Magpies should easily stay in the division.

His inclusion needs to come as soon as possible, but, if not able to contribute when away from full fitness, head coach John Carver should wait until he is at 100%, and then hope that de Jong is able to rejuvenate a lagging Newcastle side.

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