De Jong hitting the headlines

Manchester City and Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong has quickly received an unwanted Premier League tag.

The hard-hitting, tough-tackling schemer has earned the wrath of the British media over the last few weeks after his crunching coming together with Newcastle United playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa.

With a loose ball within sniffing distance, the ox-like former Hamburg man hurtled into a challenge with the on-loan Frenchman and he certainly felt the force.

Ben Arfa suffered a double fracture of his leg, leaving his Magpies career in the balance.

The style of his play has been questioned since he arrived in England’s top-flight, with many believing an injury of Ben Arfa’s nature was waiting to happen.

He has since been dropped from the Dutch squad by coach Bert van Maarwijk, who said of the incident: “I’ve seen the pictures. It was a wild and unnecessary offence. He went in much too hard.”

De Jong was also in the spotlight for his crude chest-high assault on Spain’s Xabi Alonso in the World Cup final in South Africa this summer.

Affectionately known as the lawnmower and the terrier, de Jong also injured USA and Bolton Wanderers man Stuart Holden after he clattered into him in a summer international friendly.

Although not as serious as Ben Arfa’s plight, Holden fractured a leg and De Jong’s reputation is rapidly spiralling downhill.

But he is not the first and certainly won’t be the last to make the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Take former Manchester United battleaxe Roy Keane, for example.

The Irishman was renowned for taking no prisoners and a number of red and yellow cards throughout his glittering career suggested his heart was certainly on his sleeve.

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His most notable indiscretion came back in 2001, when his mid-air karate-style kick landed perfectly on the knee of Manchester City midfielder Alfe Inge Haaland and the image of the Norwegian crumpled in a heap will live long in the memory.

Former Arsenal sensation Patrick Vieira loved nothing better than a tussle with Keane when the two Premier League giants were the country’s top two.

With ten red cards to his name, the Frenchman was a colossus in the middle of the Gunners’ engine room, but his over-exuberance let him down at times and his opponents wincing.

Currently, there are a couple of Premier League stars who enjoy throwing their weight around, none more so than Wolves skipper Karl Henry.

He was responsible for the tackle that broke Bobby Zamora’s ankle in a recent game with Fulham, before seeing red for a ridiculous attempt to play the ball that resulted in him wiping out Wigan’s Jordi Gomez.

Further honourable mentions must go to the rock-jawed Serbia defender Nemanja Vidic, midfield bison Michael Essien, tough and uncompromising Kevin Davies and the lionhearted Lee Cattermole.