I came across this interesting piece which included comparisons between Gini Wijnaldum and Paul Pogba.
For Newcastle fans, Wijnaldum is a bit of a strange one.
In his first Premier League season, the former PSV Captain scored 11 goals from midfield to be top scorer in a poor relegated team, yet when he jumped ship to Liverpool there was no real sense of deep disappointment at losing him.
He wasn’t seen as a total joke like Moussa Sissoko but neither were supporters gutted to see him leave, especially with him adding around £24m to what Rafa Benitez was said to have to play with in the transfer market.
Overall, despite getting an impressive 11 goals and five assists (featuring in 16 of Newcastle’s 44 PL goals), the general impression was that Wijnaldum had gone missing when really needed, not turning up for the big occasion. One key stat pointed to was that while he had scored 11 goals at St James Park, the Dutch international hadn’t scored a single one away from home – this summing up for many how he didn’t fancy it when the chips were down – such as away from home.
Rafa Benitez even dropped the midfielder on the relegation run-in for a couple of games, as even he became exasperated at Wijnaldum’s contribution.
Moving on 12 months and Wijnaldum still hasn’t scored away from home in England, though he has got another six to add when playing at Anfield, not a bad return of 17 goals from midfielder in two Premier League seasons, plus he managed another nine assists this season for his new club.
Altogether, this means Wijnaldum has been directly involved in 31 goals in his two PL seasons, scoring 17 and getting 14 assists, impressive stuff.
This has prompted an article in what is not exactly a neutral publication but nevertheless makes some decent/interesting points, the piece appearing on the independent Liverpool website – Rousing The Kop.
The author points to Wijnaldum’s stats as compared to Paul Pogba this past season, the Manchester United £89m signing managing only five Premier League goals and four assists, compared to Wijnaldum’s six and nine (the author of the piece gets it slightly wrong as he has Pogba on four goals and three assists), plus the Liverpool midfielder is playing a deeper role than when at Newcastle.
Interesting as well though that this article talks about how Wijnaldum ‘just loves to perform in big games’, in direct contrast to what most Newcastle fans felt. Although he did score against Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs, albeit all at St James Park.
With better players around him, it was always likely that Liverpool would get more out of Wijnaldum than Newcastle did, his figures significantly skewed with the four goals against Norwich.
Next season Newcastle will be up against both Paul Pogba and Gini Wijnaldum, interesting times ahead and certainly just a couple of reasons why the Premier League is really the only place to be when it comes to anticipation before the games and looking forward to seeing if Newcastle can rise to the challenge.
As for whether Wijnaldum is really better than Paul Pogba? Well of course neither of them can touch Isaac Hayden…
An article on Rousing The Kop:
‘….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.
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.
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.
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.’
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])