Following his £15 million move from SV Hamburger of the Bundelsiga to Manchester City this week, all-action Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong has spoken of his appetite for hard work ahead of what promises to be a difficult few months for the Eastlands club.
De Jong, raised in a tough part of Amsterdam and a hard as nails tackler as well as a passer in the silky Dutch tradition, knows the demanding nature of what lies ahead, and is more than ready to put in the hard graft with City.
"I like a tackle; that is true," he said, after joining City's training camp in Tenerife at the end of the week. "My role is to play in front of the back four, win the ball and give to the attacking players in the team. There is nothing special about it but it is an important role, a team role and my aim is to be part of a team that is going to be successful.
"That is the desire of everyone I have spoken to at City but I also understand clearly that success is not going to come overnight and that it might be hard going for the next couple of months or even a year as the side is built. There is clearly a plan in place here and we hope to execute it.
"I just want to be the best player that I can be. I have heard about the intensity of the work they do at City and I have spoken to Mark Hughes about it. I like that approach because I am a training animal."
De Jong has also revealed that a key incentive of him coming to Manchester was the presence at City of one of his former team-mates: Belgian international Vincent Kompany.
He added: "We always kept in touch when he left Hamburg for City and when the rumors started about the possibility of me moving to Manchester he telephoned me and told me about the club, about the atmosphere, the supporters and the people behind the club and once I had spoken to him it was an easy move for me."
"When we played in Germany I was the front of the triangle and Vincent played behind at the center of the back four. I don't know yet how it will work here but we are both adaptable players and I am sure whatever Mark Hughes wants will be a success. Vincent is so talented that he can fit in almost anywhere."
De Jong has been sidelined since October since suffering a knee injury whilst on international duty with De Oranje, but is raring to make his debut, as expected, on Wednesday evening when Newcastle United visit Eastlands in the Premier League.
"I am ready to go and looking forward to my first game," he enthused. "I have been in a training camp with Hamburg during the winter break and though my match fitness may not be there I want to play as soon as possible and I confident in my condition and ability. Hamburg were bringing me on slowly because they are not playing for a while yet but it is no problem.
"Dutch players I don't think have any trouble settling down in England. The climate, the way of life and the style of football is not so different to Holland or Germany."
--Zack Wilson, Goal.com