Manchester City's Nigel de Jong has written to Newcastle United winger Hatem Ben Arfa expressing regret over the challenge last season in which he broke the Frenchman's leg in two places.
Ben Arfa returns to City for the first time on Saturday since the incident six minutes into last season's corresponding fixture in October 2010 which made the Dutchman a source of national opprobrium, but he does so as a player still struggling to regain the impact he was having at St James' at that time. It is unclear whether De Jong's letter, which was not written in the initial few months after the tackle, included an apology – though it is likely it did. The Dutchman is also hoping that he will be able to put the incident in the past for Saturday's encounter at the Etihad Stadium.
De Jong has always felt that the incident was blown out of proportion, as did City when Newcastle wrote to the Football Association to complain about the challenge. "There was a witch hunt and the only thing for me was my family were suffering," De Jong has said.