STRIKER Luuk de Jong edged closer to a permanent move to Newcastle United at the KC Stadium – by showing he can defend!
De Jong returned to the starting XI against Hull City on Saturday.
The 23-year-old, on a half-season loan from Borussia Monchengladbach, played behind lone forward Loic Remy.
De Jong, marking Hull midfielder Tom Huddlestone, won a series of aerial balls – 12 in total, and more than any other player in the Premier League that afternoon – and linked well with Remy.
And his performance ticked another box for United manager Alan Pardew, whose side won 4-1 thanks to two goals from Moussa Sissoko and strikes from Remy and Vurnon Anita.
“We set the team up to be fast on the break, but we had to be strong defensively,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“Luuk had a lot of responsibility on Huddlestone.
“I thought he had a terrific game for us. He impressed with his all-round performance.”
Pardew was also pleased with the contribution of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa alongside Mike Williamson in the heart of Newcastle’s defence.
Yanga-Mbiwa came in for captain Fabricio Coloccini, who was allowed to return home to his native Argentina on the eve of the game after a family bereavement.
“Obviously, Mapou came in for Colo,” said Pardew.
“I thought Mapou and Luuk deserved special praise as well as Moussa, who had an outstanding game.”