Van Bommel defends de Jong
Tuesday 05 October 2010
Mark van Bommel has urged Nigel de Jong not to alter his approach despite the Manchester City midfielder's removal from the Holland squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Moldova and Sweden.
De Jong was axed from the Dutch party yesterday after coach Bert van Marwijk took a dim view of his challenge in Sunday's Barclays Premier League game between City and Newcastle which left France winger Hatem Ben Arfa with a broken tibia and fibula.
Although referee Martin Atkinson failed to give a foul at the time, condemnation for De Jong has been widespread especially as it is not the first time he has been caught up in such an incident.
The former Ajax midfielder made a tackle which broke the leg of Bolton midfielder Stuart Holden in March and could arguably have been sent off in the World Cup final after a chest-high challenge on Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso.
Dutch skipper Van Bommel refused to criticise De Jong although he hopes he learns from the experience.
The Bayern Munich man told AD Sportwereld: "Nigel is and remains one of us.
"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 with Van Bommel and De Jong two of the men targeted.
"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 is Van Marwijk's son-in-law and he admits he can understand why the decision to drop De Jong was made.
He said: "I think it was a very difficult decision for him.
"We are stronger with Nigel than without him.
"But he did it for the overall good."
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