Dutchman broke Newcastle winger’s legManchester City manager Roberto Mancini says he never considered dropping Nigel de Jong after his challenge on Hatem Ben Arfa earlier this season.
The tough-tackling midfielder broke the Newcastle United star’s leg in the 2-1 win at Eastlands, and the Frenchman has not played since.
De Jong’s previous challenges were brought up as a result, with Netherlands boss Bert van Marwijk even dropping him from the national team temporarily following the incident.
And with City set to face Newcastle for the first time since the tackle, Mancini insists these things can happen in football and that De Jong’s place in the team was never in question.
"I am sorry for what happened with Ben Arfa but this can happen in a football match," he said.
"It has not affected Nigel and I never thought about leaving him out.
"There are a lot of players in the world who attack the ball like Nigel. In this instance he was very unlucky.
"But he is a fantastic player and very important for us. He is the only player we have got with his characteristics.
"He always stays in front of the defence, so he helps the defenders. But he helps the strikers and wingers too."