Saturday, 3 October 2009

de Jong's heroes

He picks them well, telling the Daily Mirror:
“I have never feared anyone on the football field, but one of my big regrets is that some of the really tough guys of English football aren’t here any more.

“I used to admire players like Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira and Claude Makelele. They are the men I always looked up to when I was a young boy. My friends would only have eyes for the attacking players, the guys with flair.

“But it was the hard workers and the tacklers who caught my attention and I wanted to be like them because that is where the battles are fought. I wanted to bring the same qualities to City that Keane brought to United and Vieira brought to Arsenal. My game is based on giving 200 per cent, making tackles and protecting the defence. When I get the ball I give it to guys who are more creative than me.”

Don't be fooled by his failure to win the TLDORC September Player of the Month: he's in the form of his MCFC career. I wrote after the West Ham game that he looks 'less like a Mascherano/Makélélé tribute act and more like the real deal', and while that's a decent description of his performance in what was an easy game, it's a better description of his perfomances in general over the last month. With Mascherano looking increasingly unsettled at Anfield, and Owen Hargreaves still not recovered from tendinitis, there can be few practitioners of the purely destructive role in as good form as de Jong at the moment. Of course there's Wilson Palacios, Darren Fletcher and Michael Essien but I'd probably categorise them more as box to box players, and not just because it fits the point I'm making here.

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