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Willems determined to ‘come back stronger’ and hopes to play for Newcastle again

Newcastle wing-back Jetro Willems has pledged to “come back stronger” after being sidelined for the rest of the season with a cruciate ligament injury suffered during Saturday’s Premier League win over Chelsea.

The 25-year-old, who is on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt, was carried from the field on a stretcher after catching his studs in the turf and scans have since revealed he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee he damaged three years ago.

Confirmation of Willems’ injury came as fellow left-sided defender Paul Dummett was told he may need surgery to repair a tendon injury and is also likely to sit out the rest of the campaign.

Willems posted a statement on his Twitter account which read: “While I’m typing this my eyes are full of tears.

“I pray before each game and I ask God to let everyone end the match healthy whether we win or lose. As you may have already heard, the game against Chelsea was my last game for this season.

“I had in all fronts and ways an incredible, beautiful, fun and especially a good half year and I want to thank everyone who were involved for that.

“It was fantastic to play for NUFC! I will come back stronger! I believe in the plan I made with God and the path we have chosen. I pledge to do everything I can so it will not be my last game for NUFC!!!”

Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce had earlier confirmed the bad news in his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s trip to face Everton at Goodison Park.

“It’s what we feared,” Bruce said of Holland international Willems. “He’s ruptured his anterior cruciate and will miss, obviously, the rest of the season, and we’ve had bad news on Dummett too.

“It’s not looking so good on him as well, it’s looks as if he’s probably ruled out for the season as well with a tendon injury in is leg, so it’s been a bad weekend in that respect.

“We wish him well, and hopefully a speedy recovery.”

Such had been Willems’ form in his 20 appearances for the club that the Magpies had hoped to seal a permanent deal for him, but that has now had to be put on ice.

Bruce, who has seen his side badly hit by injuries this season, said: “The big thing now is just the welfare of Jetro, getting his head around that. Unfortunately, it’s his second serious knee injury in three years.

“He’s a strong-minded individual and really the big thing now is to let him have the operation and recover, and then we’ll review the whole situation in a few weeks. It’s all too raw for us at the moment to even speculate or comment on what’s going to happen.”

In the meantime, Bruce will prepare for Tuesday’s game buoyed by a last-gasp win over Chelsea which left the Magpies five points off fifth place, but insisting that his only target – for now, at least – is survival.

He said: “The mentality has never changed for me in that respect.

“It’s the accumulation of points over a period of time and if you’re one of the 12 clubs – I believe there’s 12, anyway – that are always looking over their shoulder, the quicker you get to the points total that we all agree with, the closer you get to 40 points, the quicker the better.”

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