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Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010

Cruyff urges De Jong to play clean

LONDON (AP) Johan Cruyff has urged Netherlands midfielder Nigel De Jong to clean up his game after a leg-breaking tackle so severe that he was omitted from the national squad.

The former Netherlands great endorsed coach Bert van Marwijk's decision to drop De Jong after his fierce challenge on Hatem Ben Arfa broke the forward's tibia and fibula during an English Premier League match between De Jong's Manchester City and Newcastle.

"He's crossed the line two or three times now," Cruyff said Tuesday. "He needs to understand he is an example to all the young players and I think it is a very good decision."

De Jong injured American midfielder Stuart Holden this year and referee Howard Webb has said he would have sent off De Jong in the World Cup final had he seen his chest-high foul on Spain's Xabi Alonso.

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