Wednesday night's U21 match between the youth squads of Newcastle and Derby County at St. James' Park was a boost for Derby's chances at moving from the U21 Premier League - Second Division to the First, but this result was overshadowed by a pair of Newcastle names showing their face in a competitive match for the first in a long while.
Siem de Jong was in Newcastle's starting XI in this youth side clash, playing the first 45 minutes as intended. He provided a couple of quality scoring opportunities and was subbed off at halftime, injury free and feeling good after his performance.
This was de Jong's first return to the St. James' Park pitch since the 3-3 tie against Crystal Palace in late August. He suffered a serious thigh muscle injury in September. He then suffered a collapsed lung in February, both according to the Club's website.
In the absence of Papiss Cisse and Moussa Sissoko, both to miss out on the Spurs match due to suspensions, Newcastle will be missing out on their leading goal scorer and the man who has brought some semblance of coherence to an attack which would find "incoherent" as a compliment. John Carver will have a decision to make regarding de Jong, a player he will undoubtedly be hoping could find the kinds of passes that would unlock defenses for young Ayoze Perez, Remy Cabella or Sammy Ameobi. On the other hand, if he rushes the Dutchman back too quickly and he is injured again, he will be unavailable for the run in to this season which features matches that Carver would have to feel de Jong could affect even more than the match against Tottenham. Will our Geordie leader take that chance?