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De Jong: City midfield up there with the best in the world
Published : 20 Dec 2010 10:30:14Rss feed
| Submit Comments| Comments (48)| Printable Version1/1Play SlideshowClose MapNigel de JongManchester City warrior Nigel de Jong is warning the Everton bogeymen that the Blues? midfield has turned world-class since the two teams last met. The sides meet at Eastlands tonight with revenge in the air after the Toffees twice upset City?s push for the Champions League last season. In the first game at Goodison Park, City were out-beefed by strapping Belgian ace Marouane Fellaini, and in the return they were undone by the artistry of Spanish wizard Mikel Arteta. But Mancini?s moves to strengthen the Blues by adding Yaya Toure and David Silva mean the visitors won?t have such an easy match this time. De Jong himself is suspended, as is Arteta, but the Dutch battler believes Silva and Yaya are among the best attacking midfielders around. De Jong played in the Holland midfield which forced its way into the World Cup final, and fell to the brilliance of Spain?s Barcelona aces Xavi and Andres Iniesta. But he has no hesitation in putting Silva ? who was reduced to a peripheral role for Spain ? and Yaya right up there. ?They are up there with the best in the world,? he said. ?Everyone talks about the midfielders from Barcelona, or United or somewhere else, but Yaya and David are top class and in the top ten in the world. ?The way David links up play from midfield to attack is unbelievable. He goes from right to left, left to right and his passes are always playable. ?Yaya has developed himself really well and is gelling in the team more and more. He is like a train, unstoppable. ?You have to give them credit because it?s not easy to get used to the Premier League, something I found at first when I came here from Hamburg. But it?s getting better and better, the atmosphere in the dressing room is up there and everyone is a huge believer in those guys. ?But you have to give credit to the team, because the rest have helped to develop them.? De Jong spent last season establishing himself as first choice defensive midfielder, and winning over the fans at City, and he admits that when the Blues first swooped for Yaya at £25million, he felt his place under threat. Yaya had made his name at the Nou Camp as a defensive midfielder, the foundations on which Xavi, Iniesta and Lionel Messi built their attacks. But manager Roberto Mancini remembered Yaya as a driving, attacking midfielder from his days at Monaco, and had every intention of playing him in the same team as de Jong. City critics are just starting to catch on to the fact that Yaya is no longer principally a defensive midfielder, even though he still drops into the role when needed. De Jong says he was surprised so many people did not figure it for so long: ?Everyone still has that image of Yaya from his time at Barcelona when he played most of his time as a defensive midfield player or a centre back. ?Here he has a different position as an attacking midfielder, and it suits him because he has me and the guys in the back four as protection which lets him play in an offensive role. ?You could describe him as a defensive/offensive midfield player at the moment!? And he confesses to a sleepless night or two on hearing of the signing in the summer. ?When you hear that Yaya Toure is coming to the club you know it will be competition,? he said. ?I was away at the World Cup which made me return late to training, so I didn?t see much of him when he first came here. ?But it was very clear at the start of the season we would be playing together and in different positions. Competition is always good anyway, as it just makes you work harder to maintain your own position in the team.? De Jong?s one-match ban leaves Mancini with a dilemma ? does he bring in Patrick Vieira, who played 90 minutes at Juventus, draft in Pablo Zabaleta, or even bring in James Milner and drop Yaya into the defensive slot? There are other options as well, but otherwise he is expected to field the side which excelled at West Ham. How should City line up in midfield against Everton? Have your say.
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