Twinkle toed Dutch midfielder Mark Van Bommel has spoken out in support of City midfielder Nigel De Jong after their national coach axed the City player from his squad…
Van Bommel himself never takes prisoners. The 33 year old Bayern Munich enforcer felt compelled to offer public support to his international team-mate but stopped short of slating his father-in-law the Dutch Coach Bert van Marwijk for his decision to drop De Jong for his hard ball winning tackle on Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa which has gone unpunished in England from pitch to Football Association.
The hacks knives are well and truly out for De Jong who finds himself coming in for stick from the likes of ex triple booking specialist Graham Poll to Arsenal’s Samir Nasri, the latter of whom we’re pretty sure at VMC would trip over himself to applaud English Football becoming a non-body contact sport. Such insight has been countered by Newcastle United’s assistant boss Colin Calderwood who said:
‘…I wouldn’t want to take that type of challenge out of our football.’
Bert van Marwijk was absolutely slammed in Holland and around the world for his side’s physical approach in this year’s World Cup Final against Spain. Dutch legend Johann Cruyff had this to say of van Marwijk’s team:
‘This ugly, vulgar, hard, hermetic, hardly eye-catching, hardly football style, yes it served the Dutch to unsettle Spain. If with this they got satisfaction, fine, but they ended up losing. They were playing anti-football.’
The Dutch coach’s unprecedented banning of an unpunished De Jong has more than a whiff of opportunist face-saving about it when those damning comments that have resonated all summer are taken into account.
Van Bommel had this to say:
‘Nigel is and remains one of us. We find this all very frustrating…but I know Nigel as a sweet guy. He doesn’t want to injure anyone but wants to win every match. That is his strength. Thanks to Nigel we reached the final of the World Cup. And now I hear people calling him a criminal. What a nonsense…I know exactly what Nigel is suffering. I have also had to answer for playing hard. But I didn’t want to injure anyone and I have had to think about that criticism…Nigel should not change his game, we need him as he is. But maybe he should occasionally go into a tackle slightly differently.’
Fair enough, but Van Bommel quickly countered that with a nod to the missus’s Dad:
‘I think it was a very difficult decision for him. We are stronger with Nigel than without him. But he did it for the overall good.’
Beyond all the posturing in Holland, City boss Roberto Mancini has issued a statement in support of his fiery midfielder:
‘As his club manager I wish to say that whilst he is naturally competitive, Nigel is first and foremost a great player as well as being honest and loyal and I support him wholeheartedly.’
MCFC and De Jong are close to finalising a newly improved extension to his current contract.