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Mancini backs De Jong

Nigel2 23.09.10

Nigel2 23.09.10

Roberto Mancini has defended Nigel De Jong after the Dutch FA made the decision to drop the City midfielder from their squad to face Moldova and Sweden this week.

De Jong had already arrived in Holland to join up with his international team-mates, before learning that the Dutch coach, Bert Van Marwijk, had decided to drop him.

In a statement to explain his decision, Van Marwijk cited De Jong’s tackle on Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa as the reason for the omission.

Sadly, Ben Arfa broke his leg in the challenge, but referee Martin Atkinson, close to the incident at the time, deemed the challenge fair and not worthy of punishment and after the game in an interview with a national radio station, Newcastle boss Chris Hughton admitted he felt there was no malice in De Jong’s actions.

Despite calling De Jong up for the double header, the Dutch FA made the unprecedented action of dropping a player for an incident which occurred for his club side.

Following De Jong’s return to England to resume training with his club, City boss Mancini said: “I don't want to comment about Nigel not being called up by his National Team as it is a matter for the Dutch  Federation.

"However, as his Club Manager I wish to say that whilst he is naturally competitive, Nigel is first and foremost a great player as well as being honest and loyal and I support him wholeheartedly.

I also want to take this opportunity to wish Ben Arfa, who I rate very highly, a speedy recovery and I hope to see him back in action soon

...Roberto Mancini


De Jong, who has never been sent off for City, has started the season in superb form, recently claiming the man of the match award for an all action show in the 1-0 win at home to Barclays Premier League side Chelsea.

He will now continue training at Carrington in preparation for next weekend’s trip to Blackpool.

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