Born to professional volleyball playing parents, the de Jong brothers of Siem and Luuk were always likely to follow the path of professional sport in some capacity. Despite Siem excelling at school and further education (and some personal desires to study business and economics), his abilities on the pitch soon got him noticed and a career in football beckoned.
Excelling from a young age at Ajax, he was promoted very young from the youth team and prior to moving to Newcastle, on previous chief scout Graham Carr’s insistence, had been the team captain in Holland for several seasons.
Like his brother Luuk, if you asked Siem his preferred playing position he would tell you he was a striker. It’s the position where he grew up playing and he has a keen eye for goal, but it was his intelligence and footballing ability (admittedly perhaps combined with his lack of pace) that saw him increasingly played in attacking midfield and even central midfield positions.
Siem posses an exceptional pass. Not only the vision to spot a pass when others rarely see it, but the intelligence to play it, weight it and execute it- often perfectly. Recently on-loan at PSV, he was picked out on many occasions for his creativity and ability to create chances. His history up front also saw him taking his chances too, scoring a number of goals and regularly drifting into the box, either to attack balls himself, of smartly create the space for his brother Luuk to exploit, as he finished the campaign as PSV’s top scorer, closely followed by Siem.
In the video below, taken from Newcastle’s recent friendly away at Hearts, watch how Siem collects the ball in the middle, turns to find space before executing an inch perfect pass to Gayle.
It’s worth mentioning how well Siem fits into Dutch football. He is made for it. A club legend at his native Ajax, he became club captain at a very young age. He cites Bergkamp as one of his many inspirations and stylistically you can see why. He is that typical number 10 from Holland that will hover between the defensive and midfield lines of the opposition. Comfortable to track back into the midfield line when necessary to build from the back and talented at making late runs into the box to exploit space. And as mentioned, his touch and weight of pass is simply sublime.
Siem is desperate to take his chance at Newcastle and in the Premier League this season. He has been the victim for some of the most unfortunate injuries of late, but is currently in his best shape of recent years. Some Dutch media remarked last season on how he seems to avoid running with the ball. Indeed his injuries may have shaved a few mph off his pace, but what he lacks in that department he certainly makes up elsewhere.
At Newcastle, Rafa seems set on playing with one loan striker up front. Whoever that is will need a number 10 in behind with the skillset and intelligence that someone like Siem posses. If he can stay fit, this could be a huge year for him…