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Frenkie de Jong opens up on his difficult start at Barcelona

Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona
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Frenkie de Jong views his current struggles at Barcelona as nothing more than a simple adjustment period and expects things will soon improve.

Critics have quickly taken a few digs over De Jong’s performances, so far, at his new club Barcelona. Clearly, he’s struggling to adapt to his more advanced midfield role compared to what he enjoyed with Ajax.

Blaugrana boss Ernesto Valverde has generally opted to field De Jong closer to the flanks, with Sergio Busquets taking the central role and Arthur being on the other side in a three-man midfield.

But the 22-year-old’s impressive performances for the Netherlands during the recent international break may have given Valverde some food for thought.

In his familiar base midfield role, De Jong played a big part in Holland’s Euro 2020 qualifying wins over Germany and Estonia.

When asked about his Barcelona role, though, De Jong told El Periodico: “This is a simple position on the pitch and in the next matches I will do better.

“I have to adapt and I have talked with Valverde about football issues and we have watched videos. The coach should not ask me where I prefer to play, as he is the coach and he decides.

“At Ajax and with the national team I played in central midfield, but it is different because we played with a double pivot.”

“Against Real Betis and Osasuna I played wider and if I didn’t play well then it was my fault,” continued De Jong.

“People began to debate about my position, asking if I had to play here or there, and it seemed crazy.”

De Jong will likely start in Barcelona’s trip to the newly-promoted Granda on Sunday in La Liga.

Furthermore, Lionel Messi could make his first start of the campaign after making a 31-minute cameo during Tuesday’s 0-0 draw at Borussia Dortmund.

Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona
DORTMUND, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 17: Frenkie de Jong of FC Barcelona assists Lionel Messi with the captain’s armband during the UEFA Champions League group F match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Barcelona at Signal Iduna Park on September 17, 2019 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)