Rafa warned De Jong off sec­ond tier

The Chronicle - - Non-league Football -

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

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