Rafa warned De Jong off second tier
SIEM de Jong has revealed an “honest” Rafa Benitez told the attacking midfielder his style of football would not suit the Championship.
The Dutchman, who left Newcastle United permanently this summer after an injuryravaged three years on Tyneside, spent the 2016/17 campaign on loan back in his native Holland with PSV Eindhoven.
The 28-year-old has subsequently recalled a conversation he had with Benitez during the summer of 2016 following the Magpies’ relegation.
During that discussion, the Spaniard told De Jong he would struggle for gametime in the Championship due to his technical style being largely unsuited to the rugged and physical nature of second-tier English football.
After scoring six goals in 23 appearances for PSV, De Jong returned to Tyneside during the summer and then featured prominently during the early stages of pre-season.
However, once his former club Ajax made an offer for the Dutch international, Newcastle agreed to let him leave.
The playmaker has made just seven appearances for Ajax so far this season – but he has scored twice during that time.
De Jong said about his season-long loan with PSV: “For me it was just a very important year I look back on with a good feeling.
“After two difficult seasons in England, I wanted to play a lot again.
“Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez was honest with me at the beginning of last season.
“According to him, I could stay with the club, but the game in the Championship would not be my way of playing football.”
Siem de Jong