Gini Wijnaldum is glad to be back in Liverpool training but is not looking forward to the extra running required in pre-season!

Given how big an engine Gini Wijnaldum has, it’s a little surprising to hear him say he hates running!

The Dutchman is, despite his apparent disdain for extra physical exertion, always willing to put in the hard yards for his side during games and frequently covered more distance than many of his teammates last campaign.

“I’m happy to be back but I hate pre-season because it’s a lot of running!” he told Liverpoolfc.com.

“It’s really hard and you don’t enjoy it every time because you want to play with the ball but you have pre-season to get fit and that’s what you have to do.”

Wijnaldum was a surprise signing last summer but his dedication and energy on the field quickly won over the fanbase and it’s no surprise that his summer was initially spent relaxing and using the down time to recover from an exhausting campaign.

“For me, it was really important to rest (over the summer) because I played a lot of games last season and I had a few issues with my body,” he explained.

“What I did at first was relaxing and rest but at the end of my vacation I did some running and the programme they gave me.”

The 26-year-old is hoping that the work he put in towards the end of his break will help him improve on an impressive debut campaign on Merseyside that saw him become one of the club’s key midfield players.

However, rather than setting himself a goal tally like he did last summer, he simply is just hoping to help the team in the best way possible.

“I had a good debut season but, of course, I want to do better,” he said.

“It’s good if we do better as a team because if we do it’s easier for a player to develop. That must be the first priority, to develop as a team, and individuals will develop also.

“Last season, I scored six and they were six important goals, so that was also good. If I can help the team with my goals, if it’s two, three, four or six like last season, I will be happy. But the most important thing is that we win games and if I can help the team by scoring goals, it’ll make me happy. We will see.”

The Dutchman’s first order of business is to help the Reds through a two-legged Champions League playoff to confirm their entry into the group stage and the no.5 isn’t hiding his excitement at the chance to play in Europe’s elite competition.

“You look forward to playing in the highest competition – I think, in the world – and you can see where you stand as a team, how good you are,” he explained.

“I’m really excited. It’s the highest competition, so you want to see how far you are in your development and how good you are as a team because you play against the best and the biggest teams in Europe.”

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