When does someone defending your reputation and saying that you are not a dirty player count for absolutely nothing? The answer, of course, is when the person giving you the glowing reference is Mark van Bommel.
Dropped De Jong’s midfield partner in crime (sometimes literally) at the World Cup has spoken up in his defence after the Manchester City midfielder was left out of Bert van Marwijk’s latest Holland squad.
Van Bommel said: “It’s very unfortunate when you break the leg of an opponent twice in six months. But I know Nigel as a sweet guy. He doesn’t want injure anyone, but does want to win all matches. This is also his strength. He wins a lot of balls. Thanks to Nigel, we have reached the final of the World Cup. I hear people calling him a criminal. What a nonsense.”
Yeah, very unfortunate for Nigel but more so for the people with the broken legs. Van Bommel then went on to acknowledge that he has sometimes been portrayed in a similar light. Violins at the ready, folks.
He continued: “I know exactly what Nigel is suffering. I have also to answer for a while, why I play hard. I also didn’t want to injure anyone. I had to think about that criticism. Nigel should not change his game. We need him as he is.”
And another one for good luck: