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I wish my hard Luuk tale had a happier ending; DE JONG LAMENTS MISSED OPPORTUNITY WITH MAGS DURING POOR LOAN STINT.

Byline: CHRIS KNIGHT Football writer chris.knight@reachplc.com @C_M_Knight

FORMER Newcastle United flop Luuk de Jong believes fans never got to see the best of him during his failed loan stint on Tyneside - and wished he could have stayed longer.

The Dutchman has his career flying again, playing for Sevilla in La Liga, but six years after his short spell in England he still rues what could have been.

After 12 appearances without a goal, De Jong suffered the ignominy of joining the list of United's biggest mistakes of the decade.

Given his forgettable stint on Tyneside, some Magpies fans were bemused to see the striker's blistering form with PSV Eindhoven, scoring 112 goals in just 204 appearances, lifting the Eredivisie three times and re-establishing his place in the national side.

The 29-year-old's impressive form earned the striker a move to Sevilla last summer and he is likely to be called upon to represent his country at the upcoming European Championships. In an exclusive interview, De Jong has opened up on his difficult spell with the Magpies and why he still holds no regrets about making the move in January 2014.

Having opting against joining United in the summer of 2012, the Dutchman finally ended up on Tyneside as he looked to escape his German nightmare, having fallen out of favour at Gladbach.

However, three hree days after arriving on Janaury 29, he made his debut as a half-time substitute during one of Newcastle's most humilating games of the decade - a 3-0 defeat by Gus Poyet's Sunderland at St James' Park.

The unpopular sale of Yohan Cabaye prompted a miserable end to the season for United. Alan Pardew's side lost 11 of their final 15 fixtures, including four-goal thrashings by Manchester United, Southampton and Tottenham.

For a player out of form and adjusting to the demands of English football, it was far from an ideal introduction to the Premier League, contributing just a solitary assist in 672 minutes of action.

While De Jong said he had a good relationship with Pardew, he was rarely I don't fans saw me. We time as a I could my favorite Luuk played in his preferred role, shunted deeper to accommodate Papiss Cisse or Loic Remy.

He said: "For me it was amazing to play in the Premier League for this amazing club.

"I wish I could have played more as a striker and shown my qualities there.

"It was a tough time because we did not perform well as a team and I hate losing."

Despite a dreadful finish to the season, United still finished 10th and De Jong admits he was keen to stay in the North East - but the Magpies decided not to pursue a permanent deal and the forward returned to Holland, signing with PSV Eindhoven.

De Jong insists he enjoyed his time in black and white and believes his time on Tyneside ultimately benefited his career.

He said: "I think it was a great experience and I have grown as a person and football player.

"I enjoyed my time there - the people at the club were amazing and the fans always supported us.

"I don't think the fans saw the best of me.

"We had a tough time as a team and I could not play in my favorite position.

think the the best of a tough team and play in position Jong "It only lasted for four months, so that was not a long time either.

"I am still very happy I made the move to Newcastle United.

"I wished I could have stayed longer at the club to show my qualities as a striker."

A return to the Eredivisie revitalised the striker, who bagged 26 goals in 45 appearances as PSV romped to the title.

The former Magpie regularly found the net in Europe too, including a Champions League strike against Tottenham in 2018.

De Jong finished tied with Ajax's Dusan Tadic for the Eredvisie's top scorer in his final season in Eindhoven, with a century of goals over five seasons convincing Sevilla to swoop for him last summer.

He has netted twice in La Liga so far and also scored in the Netherlands' victory over Northern Ireland in October.

While he did not rule out a return to the Premier League, the striker is settled in Andalusia.

De Jong added: "I am having a good time at Sevilla.

"We are doing well in La Liga at the moment, winning a lot of games.

"We have a great team with a lot former Ajax star also struggled of nice players. The city is nice and playing in the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan is fantastic.

"I hope to achieve a lot with the team, finishing as high as possible in La Liga and trying to reach the finals of the Europa League and Copa del Rey."

He added: "I am not thinking about playing in England. I want to have a great time for as long as possible at Sevilla."

Luuk is not the only member of the De Jong family to play for the Magpies of late.

When he joined PSV in the summer of 2014, the Magpies were signing his brother Siem on a sixyear deal from Ajax.

He too endured a nightmare spell on Tyneside, with the playmaker - lauded by Pardew a 'big signing' - plagued by injuries.

The attacking midfielder was quickly ruled out for months with a thigh injury before a collapsed lung delayed his return to action.

A year later, a freak accident almost cost him his sight.

Siem joined Luuk at PSV on a season-long loan after United's relegation in 2016, and re-joined Ajax the following season.

Luuk insists it was not difficult to convince his older brother to move to Newcastle.

When asked what he told Siem about the club, he said: "That it is a beautiful club with great fans in a beautiful stadium.

"I did not need to tell him a lot, because everybody knows Newcastle United and playing in the Premier League is really special.

"He did not have a lot of chances because he had injuries which held him back."

to the Premier contributing assist in of Loic me it was amazing people at amazing always "I fans of for so long "I am still made the mov"I don't think the fans saw the best of me. We had a tough time as a team and I could not play in my favorite position Luuk de Jong

CAPTION(S):

De Jong, pictured missing the ball at Fulham in March 2014, struggled on Tyneside and failed to score a single goal

Luuk de Jong (pictured right) told his older brother Siem to join the Magpies - but the former Ajax star also struggled
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:CHRIS KNIGHT Football writer chris.knight@reachplc.com @C_M_Knight
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Jan 8, 2020
Words:1127
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