Siem de Jong is ready to hit the ground running in pre-season – and put his injury problems behind him.
Vice-captain De Jong, signed from Ajax last summer, missed much of his first campaign at St James’s Park through injury.
But the forward – who suffered a thigh tear and a collapsed lung last season – is hoping to play in the club’s pre-season opener against Gateshead at the International Stadium on Friday.
De Jong said on Twitter: “Can’t wait for our first game this Friday!”
Steve McClaren said de Jong gave him “nightmares” during his time in charge of FC Twente in Holland.
And McClaren is looking forward to having de Jong available for the new Premier League campaign, though the 26-year-old must first prove his fitness under the guidance of new fitness coach Alessandro Schoenmaker, who has joined the club from Derby County.
Can’t wait for our first game this Friday!
De Jong was named as a vice-captain by former manager Alan Pardew.
And the Holland international is hoping to use his experience to assist McClaren and skipper Fabricio Coloccini on and off the field, having been captain at Ajax.
Speaking last season, he said: “At Ajax I was happy to be involved in the team,” said de Jong.
“If something went wrong, I could say or have the space to change things in the game if I thought it was necessary, make small changes or ask the trainer at half time, or he would ask me.
“That’s a thing you build up over the years that you play so it’s going to be a little different here at Newcastle, but I can still help people.
“I think I see the game pretty well and I hope I can add that to the team here.”
McClaren has earmarked de Jong as a match-winner given his undoubted ability and vision, though he must first prove he can physically cope with the rigours of a Premier League campaign.
“Siem de Jong’s a player I know well,” said McClaren. “He was my nightmare in Holland!
“Siem is a smart, intelligent player and I’m looking forward to working with him. He’s a difference maker. You need a few difference makers in your team and he’s one of them.”