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It’s International Break!

Some News and Notes in the World of Newcastle

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Now that the international break is upon us, it’s a perfect time to catch up on Newcastle news and updates from around the globe:

Siem De Jong has been picked for the Netherlands team’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and France. Netherlands is dealing with a number of injuries including brother and former Newcastle loanee Luuk, who suffered a concussion. It's the first time Siem has been with the Dutch National Team since 2013 and he talked about how surprised he was about the call-up. He spoke to Dutch news outlet AD:

“I did not think it would happen so soon, but I did have Oranje in my head when I went to PSV.”

After talking with the Netherlands national team coach, Siem said, “[Danny Blind] sees me as a kind of striker and also as an attacking midfielder,” adding “I see this as an opportunity to show what I can do, and of course I hope for playing time.”

For the first time since his loan away from Newcastle, Seim played a full 90 minutes, for PSV, in a 1-1 draw at Heerenveen Saturday. Seim of course only started four games in his two years since signing for Newcastle because of multiple injuries and poor form. It will be interesting to see if Newcastle views him as an asset, should they earn promotion back into the Premier League next season.

In other former Newcastle/Dutch national team news: Daryl Janmaat won’t be making an appearance for the national team. According to the Watford Observer, he injured his shoulder and will be out for at least a month. He won't need surgery. Blah blah blah. Who cares.

Hatem Ben Arfa is fat. It’s not the first time Ben Arfa has struggled with his fitness. At the beginning of the 2013 season, the Newcastle winger was visibly overweight.

Ben Arfa has been absent from his new team since the season began. He made it into the PSG Matchday 18 for the first time this season on Saturday, coming off the bench for the final 14 minutes in a 2-0 win against Bordeaux at the Parc des Princes.

Yahoo Sports France (as translated by ESPN) talked with Fabrice Pancrate, who was a midfielder for the Parisian giants from 2004-2008 before signing with and scoring one goal in 16 games for Newcastle in 2009, stating, “I think [Ben Arfa and Emery] discussed things privately and and there are things we do not know... Right now he's a little overweight but he is aware of that. I could be wrong but I think an agreement was reached with the coach.” He added that Ben Arfa “[is intrinsically] better than Di Maria, Pastore, and Lucas.”

Better than Di Maria?! Man, I really miss Ben Arfa playing on the right wing for Newcastle. He was so fun to watch. Good luck to him losing some weight and showing up in highlight videos sporting a PSG uniform.

Aston Villa spent $50 million this summer after their relegation and have started the season with only one win (along with 7 draws and 3 losses). So close to the bottom of the Championship table two months in, Chinese owner Tony Xia decided to fire his manager Roberto Di Matteo who took reins of the team only 124 days prior. What make this interesting for Newcastle fans is that, according to the Birmingham Mail, the bookies see former Newcastle manager Steve McClaren as third favorite, with 7/1 odds, to take over as Aston Villa’s next manager trailing two other former Newcastle Managers, Steve Bruce (even) and Sam Allardyce (6/1).

Forward Daryl Murphy won’t be playing in the two World Cup qualifiers upcoming for the Republic of Ireland, as he came back to Newcastle for assessment and treatment of an apparent calf injury. Since signing with Newcastle in August, Murphy has only appeared in the 2-0 league cup win at home against Wolves. After the international break, Newcastle have five games in 2 weeks. Hopefully Murphy can regain his fitness as we’ll need to rotate the squad a bit with so many games in such a short amount of time.

Murphy’s Republic of Ireland and Newcastle teammate, Rob Elliot, seems to be making good progress coming back from the knee ligament injury he suffered playing for the national team last March. Newcastle goalkeeping coach Simon Smith said that Elliott trained twice with him last week.

It’s only been 6 months since he tore his knee up, so Elliott still has a few more months of rehabilitation until he is ready to compete with Karl Darlow and Matz Sels as Newcastle’s number 1. Smith added that Tim Krul (on loan at Ajax) was ready to start playing for the Dutch club after tearing up his knee last October while playing for the Dutch national team.