LUUK de Jong says he has such a good feeling at Newcastle United – and he can’t wait to reward the club’s fans for their welcome.
The striker’s expected to make his full home debut against Tottenham Hotspur at St James’s Park tonight – against his friend Jan Vertonghen.
De Jong – who joined Newcastle last month on a half-season loan from Borussia Monchengladbach – has made two appearances so far for the club.
The 23-year-old came off the bench in United’s last home game – the Tyne-Wear derby defeat to Sunderland – and started last weekend’s loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
While frustrated at the results, the 23-year-old already has a “good feeling” about his new club, having been warmly welcomed to a wintry Tyneside.
And de Jong – whose last league goal came in April last year – is desperate to get his Newcastle career up and running with a goal - and a victory.
“I have a good feeling playing for the Newcastle fans,” de Jong said.
“When I came on against Sunderland, we were 2-0 down, of course, but the fans were still cheering me, and that gives me a good feeling.
“I just want to work hard for the team.
“I want to score goals and make some assists. That’s important for the team. I know they will support me if I work hard for the team.”
De Jong and his team-mates face a Tottenham team rejuvenated under new manager Tim Sherwood.
Newcastle beat Spurs 1-0 at White Hart Lane in November thanks to a goal from Loic Remy, and Pardew’s side are looking to do their first double of the campaign.
“Tottenham are a good team,” said de Jong.
“But we play at home, so we’ve got a chance to beat them. It’s going to be really tough. They have some good players.”
De Jong’s Dutch countryman Tim Krul was outstanding at White Hart Lane – he made 14 saves – but the Holland international isn’t fazed by the talent in Sherwood’s squad.
“I heard about it and also the players made a lot of tackles,” he added. “But we’re playing at home, so it’s a good opportunity.
“I think we’ve got a good opportunity to win the game. We have to work hard. We’ve got to keep the ball in possession and don’t lose it.”
De Jong knows Vertonghen through his brother Siem, who played with the Tottenham defender at Ajax.
But his friendship with the Belgium international will be put to one side at St James’s Park.
De Jong was also a team-mate of Spurs winger Nacer Chadli at FC Twente earlier in his career.
“I know Nacer and I know Jan quite well because of my brother. We went a couple of times to London to watch a game before I came here.”
Meanwhile, United manager Alan Pardew feels de Jong – who found opportunites hard to come by at Gladbach – is quickly getting up to speed.
“Luuk looked a lot better (against Chelsea) than he did in that second-half against Sunderland,” he said. “And he’ll get better when the team around him gets better.”