Alex Rogers reflects on Georginio Wijnaldum’s debut season with Liverpool after a £25 million move from Newcastle last summer.
With the season over once again, it’s a perfect time to reflect on how well we’ve performed as a team, but also how our players have performed individually.
Quite a few players spring to mind when talking about impressive individual seasons. You’ve got Coutinho, Mané and even Mignolet who’s had the best season of his career this year. But another player who comes to mind is every Liverpool fan’s new favourite Dutch midfielder, Gini Wijnaldum.
When we bought Wijnaldum from the relegated Newcastle nearly one year ago there was a lot of speculation if he was really the kind of player we should be aiming for. I saw a lot of people saying things along the lines of “I thought Klopp was going to bring in WORLD CLASS players and we’re buying players from Newcastle!?“
While Gini may not be world class he’s definitely been a fantastic addition to the team. Consider that he was essentially the replacement for Joe Allen and you suddenly realise how much of an upgrade Wijnaldum really was.
Wijnaldum played in a deeper role than he was previously used to at his old clubs of Newcastle and PSV where he operated mainly as a central attacking midfielder or as a winger. But the decision to play Gini in that deeper role has really seen the player himself reap the benefits, having a great first season and establishing himself as a fan favourite in the starting lineup.
It may be just me but I don’t really feel like Gini has really been credited as much as he should be outside the Liverpool community considering his great style of play with the stats to back them up. I feel like he may be overshadowed by other players with bigger reputations who others may consider to actually be better on that reputation alone.
Personally, I feel it could be argued that Wijnaldum has had a better individual season than a certain player that cost £89 million. Take these stats into account. Wijnaldum has triple the amount of assists in the league than this other very expensive player with an impressive nine assists. He also has six goals, a few being match-winning goals against the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal, compared to four goals from Pogba.
Wijnaldum has built himself a reputation of keeping his head down and doing his job effectively. What more can you ask for? Pair this with the fact that he just loves to perform in big games and you’ve got yourself a gem.
You may have read an article I wrote at the beginning of the season about Wijnaldum that may have proved a bit controversial those many months ago. The article basically said that if Wijnaldum could work on keeping his consistency up he could definitely be one of our best players. Not so controversial now, is it?
To conclude, Wijnaldum’s first season as a Red can be considered a success. It’s really hard to dislike Gini and it’s something about his hardworking attitude without ever making a fuss that makes supporters love him. Also, his smile gives me butterflies.
He’s just an all-around good guy, isn’t he? There’s no doubt in my mind that Gini will continue to be a fan favourite for years to come.