Liverpool have an incredible seven players on the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or this year. With rival fans most content with some of our inclusions than others, the international form of Gini Wijnaldum should silence those that doubted his place on the Ballon d’Or shortlist.
Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Gini Wijnaldum were all shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or this season.
Some rival fans were displeased by the Dutch midfielder’s inclusion. This was always going to be the case. Gini is one of those players that you can only appreciate if you watch him every week. His doubters seemed to have been judging his merits on how many Fantasy Premier League points he accrued for them.
The ex-Newcastle man has scored eight goals in seven games for his country during their European Championship qualifying campaign, most recently netting a hat trick against Estonia.
Wijnaldum’s international form shows just why he deserved to be on the revered shortlist. For Liverpool, Gini plays as a dogged, ball winning midfielder. Not much is asked of him creatively. He is expected to make life difficult for the opposition. He is expected to win the ball and make sure we keep it. He fulfils his duties with aplomb.
For the Netherlands, Gini plays in a more advanced role. He gets into the box and grabs goals and assists. His fine goalscoring record for the Dutch is testament to how well he performs in this attacking role.
How many players can boss a game as a defensive midfielder or as an attacking midfielder? There are some undeniable talents out there that are adept at winning the ball. There are some phenomenal footballers that will always grab you a goal from midfield. How many of these players can do both?
It isn’t easy to play in one way for your club and in such a different way for your country, yet Gini does so with ease. Wijnaldum deserves to be on the Ballon d’Or shortlist because he is world class in any midfield role and his international form is testament to that.