Rough Diamonds #6-Georginio Wijnaldum

Andrew Harding

Just the look of Georginio Wijnaldum motionless gives the impression that he will be an excellent player if not one already. Lithe frames are all the rage in the modern game where tiki-taka reigns supreme and Lionel Messi is king. Add to that the dreadlocks that have one hankering back to the times of Ruud Gullit frolicking on the field of play and everything should be in place for stardom. Approaching his 21st birthday, he has not quite reached the plateau in which to make such a bold bid to star on the wider stage.

Standing still his aesthetic appeal connotes ability and while his movement is often good, he can find himself pushed out of games if faced by strong defenders. He is showing signs that he’s learning and finding ways to combat the stronger opponents that he comes across and has thus been rewarded with call-ups to the past few Netherlands squads. His summer move from Feyenoord to PSV while highlighting the decline in status of Feyenoord, illustrated that his progression will be methodical and that Wijnaldum will continue to rise in importance at club level. A move abroad would be an inevitable moment in his career but to continue in the Eredivisie for another season will mean that he can develop within his comfort zone. Some players prefer to be shot into superstardom but with signs pointing to Wijnaldum being a player whose form fluctuates on confidence, such minor progression is hoped to serve him well in the long run. 

Surprisingly, the Dutch youngster was not one of those born with a football at his feet. In fact, when very young he has claimed to have had very little knowledge of football other than a selection of memories of the Dutch national team. Wijnaldum’s development was rapid and he had the pick of the top clubs in the Netherlands in which to choose where he wished to develop. While progression from outside observation is that of steady progress, his rapid personal development saw him become the youngest ever player to feature in a first team match for the Rotterdam club.
His club career was taking off and his progress through the Dutch international ranks was following a similar trajectory. He would continue to ply his trade with Feyenoord and established himself as a vital component of the side. Impressing in a youthful but underachieving team, Wijnaldum featured in over 100 games before his summer move to Eindhoven. He has needed hardly any time to adapt with a move of relatively small proportions and is already imposing himself on the coach Fred Rutten’s plans. PSV gives Wijnaldum an opportunity to be in a team that will compete for the league title and he will be hoping to add to his only medal to date: the Dutch cup back in 2008.
The young Dutchman has now earned his first international cap of what’s expected to be many at the home of his current club with the Oranje hosting minnows San Marino. Brought on as a substitute, Wijnaldum would crown his international debut with a goal.
He has the ability to become an important player in the future of the Oranje. His next move will be vital to how he progresses in the game as a whole. It will be interesting as to whether it is continues the gradual progression that his club career has taken to date or whether it will be a bigger leap up the chain in European football akin to the remarkable way his game has developed. It would appear to be all a question of faith. Now, having made his international bow, Wijnaldum would appear primed to build on this with a good campaign this season at PSV and then perhaps push for a place in the Netherlands’ Euro 2012 squad. The aforementioned plateau might not be so far away for this talented dreadlocked playmaker.

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