By Alex Baker
(Long Beach, CA) – Nigel De Jong cuts something of a controversial figure in the world of football. His Kung fu-style tackle on Spain’s Xabi Alonso provided last summer’s World Cup with one of its more controversial moments. Say what you will about him but the fact remains that Nigel De Jong is currently one of the world’s best defensive midfielders. 90:00’s Alex Baker caught up with De Jong at a beach day for underprivileged kids Manchester City held in advance of their upcoming friendly against the LA Galaxy.
As a defensive midfielder, what players on the Galaxy are you going to be aware of in Sunday’s match?
Well I don’t really know a lot about them, except that Beckham and Donovan’s playing there. So we have to make sure that they don’t come into their rhythm. For them it’s not easy to come out there and play friendly cause they’re already in the middle of their season.
How are finding the quality of opposition in the states (City had just played both the Vancouver Whitecaps and Club America)?
It’s okay. A lot of teams obviously have already played a lot of games because they are halfway through the season already. The atmosphere is good here in the States plus they are well prepared as well. So for us it’s still preseason.
Are most people familiar with Manchester City here or still learning the team?
Yeah, they’re still learning the team. But I think a lot of people are familiar as well. A lot of football fans and a lot of soccer fans. You can see it today as well, how many people are coming to the event like this, all the kids. So we’re getting more familiar by the day.
Is this going to be your first season the Champions League since you left Ajax?
No, no Hamburg. I played with Hamburg in the Champions League.
How do you think City will fair this season?
Well we hope to do well. This is our first season; it’s a big step for the club. Big step for the squad as well as a group. We just have to make sure that we do well in the Champions League. I think we got the quality as well. So let’s focus ourselves on the Premier League first and then we’ll see what happens in the Champions League.
What do you think about the possibility of Wesley Sneijder joining City?
I dunno. I only hear rumors at the moment so we’ll see what happens. I mean the transfer deadline is ending on 31st of August so there’s plenty of time.
Do you think he’d be a good addition to the squad?
Yeah I think he’s a great addition to every team, also to us. But we’ve got quality players as well in our squad so we just have to see what’s going to happen.