With only 15 days to go until Newcastle United’s season kicks off, Georginio Wijnaldum has issued a timely warning.
With only 66 minutes of football so far with his new teammates, the former PSV midfielder says that he doesn’t know how long it will take him to adapt to the step up to the Premier League.
Wijnaldum is desperate for as much football as possible and has said that if it was up to him, he would have played the full match against Portland Timbers second team on their dodgy artificial pitch.
However, the Newcastle player understands why Steve McClaren made the decision, the Newcastle Head Coach stating that he’d protected certain players by either not playing them at all, or as in the case of Wijnaldum (45 minutes) and de Jong (14 mins) only giving them limited time on the pitch.
Georginio Wijnaldum speaking to the the Chronicle:
“I always looked at the games in England and wondered what it would be like.
“The players are helping me but I must do it for myself, I work hard on it , we will see how much time I will need (to adapt to the Premier League).”
The right move:
“I feel good already because I knew it was the right move (to Newcastle), I want to play and I wanted to play the second half at Portland as well.
“The trainer (Steve McClaren) has to make choices and he has a reason for because we’ve more games to come, I hope that I start against Sheffield (United) and play longer.”
Far too many overseas players have been thrown in at the deep end at St James Park, instantly put in the first team after arriving – rather than being allowed to gradually adapt to the challenges of the Premier League.
In the past it has been desperation and lack of other options that has usually been the cause of this policy, something that other clubs who take the longer term view don’t do as a matter of habit.
After last season’s mess, I think we all know how desperate this team is for new inspiration and character, so we all wait to see how Steve McClaren tackles the challenge.
The Newcastle boss only has three matches in seven days to properly look at his options to start against Southampton and with only Wijnadlum looking sure to be involved against Sheffield United, time is against him.
We wait to see how soon Mitrovic is involved and hopefully Chancel Mbemba is announced today.
I’m guessing though that it would be a real longshot for McClaren to start all three against Southampton.