For most who have been following this player from his early youth days at Ajax knows that De Jong is certainly a very aggressive (sometimes too combative), tireless-hard working and fiery player on the field. He is affectionately called by most “the lawnmower” or “the terrier”. Nicknames like those surely drive fear into opponents.
For the type of risky player De Jong is, he tends to somehow ALWAYS avoid getting carded or picking up red cards at that. Maybe he has some power over the officials.
Looking at his statistics over the years from his Ajax days to the present season, he’s only managed one straight red card and that came back in the 2005/06 season while he was still playing for Hamburg.
Over his career span he’s earned himself 69 yellow cards in an astonishing 317 appearances (not the kind of statistics one would expect from a player with his reputation) and he has committed 238 fouls (now that sounds like the fiery De Jong). One can go as far to say he has only recently developed this reputation as being a crude player.
Taking a look at the recent events involving De Jong, he has managed to commit three severe tackles all deserving of red cards but of course he escaped such ruling.
Stuart Holden- 1st victim (March 3, 2010)
After a very late challenge on Holden in a friendly against the USA, De Jong fractured the American’s right fibula which had the player sidelined for 6 weeks.
Xabi Alonso- 2nd victim (July 11, 2010)
Although no serious damage was done to the player, De Jong was indeed very lucky to not have injured the player and to have only escaped with a yellow card booking after he karate kicked Alonso in the chest during the final of the World Cup: South Africa. Think of the many possible injuries he could have caused to the player. I am no doctor nor have I ever studied medicine but I am sure trauma to the chest can sometimes result in death.
Hatem Ben Arfa- 3rd victim (October 3, 2010)
In the league show down between Manchester City and Newcastle United a late challenge from De Jong resulted in Ben Arfa suffering a double fracture on his left tibia and fibula. While New Castle is yet to confirm how long the player will be out, however, from research an injury of that extent may require the player to miss up around 16 weeks for recovery.
If you have noticed, I included the dates of each of the reckless challenges made by the defensive midfielder. If you are really paying attention you would also realize that all three “attacks” came within a 7 month span! Can De Jong really consider himself unfortunate to have been on the end of serving up 3 crude challenges? I think not. I think his fiery personality and his combative nature is what led him to inflict such widely condemned challenges on the above mentioned players.
Vicious vs Unfortunate
If this is the kind of reputation he is going to be associated with then it is time for the authorities to do something about it. We know football is a contact sport and accidents happen but when the same situation occurs 3 times in the space of 7 months then it is no longer an accident. Mark van Bommel is a similar type of player to De Jong but how many players have he really inflicted such damage upon? It has been a growing concern in today’s game about the way most players challenge gifted players such as Messi, Ronaldo, etc and are now calling for more protection from the match officials for these kinds of players. Since nothing has been decided on yet Marseille are planning on taking legal action against De Jong for the challenge on Ben Arfa (who still belongs to the French club). De Jong’s recent action also led to his national team coach, Bert van Marwijk, scratching him from the roster for the rounds of Euro 2012 qualifiers and also suspending him for an unspecified period of time.
Ryan Shawcross’ challenge on Aaron Ramsey was an accident. Iraizoz’s collision with Filipe Luis was an accident. De Jong’s continual challenges- I consider vicious and could almost say they were calculated. Maybe he wanted to strike fear into the opponent but he ended up inflicting serious damage onto two of his victims.
At this point it is not even about being vicious or unfortunate for me but making an example of situations like these. While Ben Arfa is in a hospital bed and away from fulfilling his contractual duties on the pitch, De Jong is out there doing his and possibly about to inflict the same atrocity upon another innocent player without any form of punishment or showing any remorse for what he has done. It’s time for somebody to do something about this current yet growing issue in the game.