Holland captain Mark van Bommel has given his backing to team-mate Nigel De Jong, claiming that he should not change the way he plays after he was dropped from the squad.
De Jong was left out by coach Bert van Marwijk for his aggressive style of play that left winger Hatem Ben Arfa with a broken tibia and fibula when Manchester City took on Newcastle on Sunday.
But Dutch skipper Van Bommel refused to criticise De Jong for his combative tackling.
”Nigel is and remains one of us,” he told AD Sportwereld. ”We find this all very frustrating. It’s very unfortunate that he has broken the leg of an opponent twice in six months.
”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.”
Holland’s physical style at the World Cup saw them widely criticised – most notably by Dutch legend Johan Cryuff – with Van Bommel and De Jong two of the culprits.
”I know exactly what Nigel is suffering,” Van Bommel added. ”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.”
Van Bommel, though, admits he can understand why the decision to drop De Jong was made. ‘
‘I think it was a very difficult decision for him [Van Marwijk],” he said. ”We are stronger with Nigel than without him. But he did it for the overall good.”
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has also offered his support De Jong.
“I don’t want to comment about Nigel not being called up by his National Team as it is a matter for the Dutch Federation,” he said. “However, 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.”