De Jong defends tackle
Midfielder insists he did not intend to cause damage
By Rachel Griffiths. Last Updated: March 4, 2010 1:42pm
De Jong: Says tackle was not malicious
Holland midfielder Nigel de Jong is adamant there was no malice behind his tackle on USA's Stuart Holden that left the Bolton player with a fractured leg.
"I had no evil intent. If the ball is between me and the opponent, you have to go in full. If you do not then the opponent takes you."
Nigel de Jong Quotes of the week
Holden has been sidelined for six weeks after suffering a fracture to his right fibula as a result of the challenge, which occurred during USA's 2-1 defeat in the Amsterdam friendly on Wednesday.
Manchester City man De Jong was booked for the tackle, but insists he did not intend to injure Holden.
"Such offences are part of football," De Jong told the Dutch football federation's official website.
"I went for the ball and got the opponent at the end.
"I had no evil intent. If the ball is between me and the opponent, you have to go in full. If you do not then the opponent takes you.
"And if you're scared in a game you get injured yourself."
De Jong believes his move to Eastlands from Bundesliga side Hamburg in January last year has toughened him up as a player.
"In England it is more accepted, that is just how it is," he added.
"He (Holland coach Bert van Marwijk) knows what kind of player I am."
Dirk Kuyt opened the scoring for Holland with a penalty five minutes before half-time after Wesley Sneijder was fouled, then substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar doubled the lead with a deflected strike in the 73rd minute.
USA captain Carlos Bocanegra snatched the visitors' first goal against Holland with a late consolation strike.
Holland coach Van Marwijk was pleased to see his side prevail over their World Cup rivals.
"The USA team were in the final of the Confederations Cup and beat Spain," he said.
"If you look at it we have not done badly."