Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren has backed Siem De Jong to find his form after missing virtually all of last season due to a thigh injury.
De Jong arrived in Newcastle with great expectations after a £6million move from Ajax in 2014.
The Netherlands international has worked his way into McClaren’s starting XI this season but the manager knows he is still far from his best.
And McClaren says he will give the 26-year-old midfielder enough time to show his worth.
“I know Siem well from his Ajax days,” said McClaren, who used to coach Twente in the Eredivisie.
“He was their best player but they were obviously a different team and I think the year out hasn’t helped him. I think he’s coming back slowly. He’s had to wait a long time and he’s been frustrated.
“At Ajax he played in a team that dominated the ball and dominated possession. He was the focal point of that but here it’s a little different. We don’t really dominate possession – we’re more of a transition or counterattack team.
“I think Siem’s experience over the last couple of games has helped us,” he said. “His fitness has improved and his running stats prove that – but he knows he needs a goal.
“We’ve got to stick with it but [in De Jong’s situation] you’ve still got to perform. You still have to do the job and the job is you have to score and get assists, and you also have to run.
“We know Siem can score and get assists, and we know he’s smart and clever.”
Newcastle will be looking to continue their push up the Premier League table when they host Everton on Boxing Day.
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