‘Don’t think I’ll continue for very long’
Siem de Jong is captain and youth product of De Graafschap and the man who gave Ajax its third star – its 30th national title – in 2011 with goals in the championship match against FC Twente. Tonight, his two lovers will play against each other in Doetinchem, but he won’t participate. “I’m sitting grumpy in the stands,” he said.
The attacking midfielder says in the radio program Along the Line And Surroundings that he did not want to miss this “special” match, a quarterfinal in the KNVB Cup tournament. However, a muscle injury threw a spanner in the works. “I suffered a setback last Monday. I regret that, but just a little bit more now.”
Physical discomfort has played tricks on the now 34-year-old De Jong more often in recent years. “That is confronting. Then I do wonder what you are still doing it for and how long you will continue. I don’t think I will continue for very long.”
De Jong, who returned in the summer to the club where he played in youth, says it is not certain that he will quit after this season. “It will depend on the last phase of this season,” he said.
And that final stage of the season may well be very nice if De Graafschap manages to win at home against Ajax.
De Jong, who transferred to Ajax’s youth academy in 2005, thinks it will be very difficult. “It will be holding back for most of the match. We do have guys who can create something out of nothing.”
That Ajax does not just win at the Vijverberg proved in 2016. In the final round of the premier league, Ajax squandered the title by playing a draw in Doetinchem.
Ajax visiting De Graafschap tonight, a duel with history
De Jong, who eventually played 277 official matches for the Amsterdammers, also draws inspiration from the result of amateur club Spakenburg, which eliminated FC Utrecht. “That gives confidence. Especially when it happens two days before your own match. Then you see: look it can be done.”
If De Graafschap wins and De Jong is fit again, he could play in the semifinals against a team that suits him. In 2020, he scored three goals on behalf of Ajax in the cup against Spakenburg, which was eventually beaten 7-0.
Either De Jong will play in the semifinals against PSV, which must first beat ADO Den Haag tonight. If it becomes PSV, then a brotherly battle will follow with brother Luuk, who is in Eindhoven in the striker position. “That would be absolutely beautiful.”