PETER Beardsley’s paid Siem de Jong the ultimate compliment – by claiming the forward can be BETTER than him!
De Jong made a goalscoring comeback for Newcastle United in Saturday’s 3-2 home defeat to Swansea City.
I wish I was as good as him, as he’s different class! I love watching him. I love the way he trains and his understanding.Peter Beardsley
The 26-year-old, signed from Ajax last summer, has recovered from the collapsed lung he suffered in February.
De Jong – who had missed the first half of the season with a torn thigh muscle – is expected to play in this afternoon’s Under-21 Premier League game against Derby County at the Championship club’s training ground (3pm kick-off).
Football development coach Peter Beardsley – one of the finest players ever to have pulled on a black and white shirt – scouted Dutchman de Jong for the club while he was playing for Ajax, where he was captain.
And Beardsley said: “I wish I was as good as him, as he’s different class!
“I love watching him. I love the way he trains and his understanding.
“If I was as good as he’s going to be, I’d be delighted. I think he’s different class. I’ve always liked him, and I’ve always liked Ajax. You can tell he’s a proper footballer.
“When I look at what proper footballers are, he is one.”
Newcastle sent Beardsley to run the rule over de Jong in a title-deciding Eredivisie fixture between Ajax and FC Twente at the Amsterdam Arena.
De Jong’s brother Luuk – who had a loan spell at United last season – was in the opposition side.
And two-goal de Jong’s match-winning performance – his team won 3-1 to win the league – left a lasting impression on Beardsley.
“I saw him play for Ajax against his brother,” said Beardsley. “That was a brilliant occasion – it was winner takes all.”
While de Jong has not played much football for United since joining the club, he has still made an impression on the club’s players and staff since arriving at St James’s Park.
“He’s been frustrating for him,” said Beardsley. “The ones that played with him in pre-season in New Zealand obviously loved him.
“They understood what he can do. He’s a brilliant fella around the place.
“He’s so positive. He loves the game. He’s a student of the game, he understands it. He wants to be a part of Newcastle.”
Beardsley’s side claimed their first win of the year last week when they beat Aston Villa’s Under-21s 2-1 at Villa Park.