Gini Wijnaldum is a star – he may not shine as brightly as others, but the sky is darker without him

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By James Miller – @JimmyMiller2608

The Netherlands have once again announced their intent on the international stage, with Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum playing a starring role.

Last Friday night, Ronald Koeman’s Dutch side had tricky task of securing three points against Germany on the road to Euro 2020 qualification.

Facing Die Mannschaft – albeit a side which showed little resemblance to the one that lifted the World Cup in 2014 – in their own back yard is not an easy match.

Littered with quality in all departments, both sides fielded eye catching lineups prior to kick off. Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos, Frenkie de Jong, Matthijis de Ligt – the list of high profile footballing figures appears endless.

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As the game unfolded, it proved to be a name not regularly seen in the headlines who stole them. Wijnaldum once more produced a dazzling display in the middle of the park for the Dutch, helping his side to an impressive 4-2 victory in Hamburg.

Often deployed in a more attacking role for his country, the former Newcastle United man showed his ability to adapt. Having fallen behind early in the first half, the visitors laid siege on their opponents after the break.

A strong start to the second 45 had Joachim Löw’s men shaken, something Gini took full advantage of. With just over ten minutes remaining, Wijnaldum took the game – tied at 2-2 – by the scruff of the neck, providing an assist for Donyell Malen and rounding off an impressive display by grabbing himself a goal.

An injury time strike against Germany seems to becoming a regular occurrence for Gini. When the two sides met in the Nations League back in October, he also scored in the dying embers as his side won 3-0. Then his national side travelled to Estonia, where the LFC man would net the final goal in a 4-0 rout.

He is a player of significant talent, especially when it comes to close control and ability on the ball, but it often goes unnoticed – perhaps due to the quiet manner in which he goes about his business.

Wijnaldum was arguably one of Liverpool’s most consistent players last season. He has developed his game massively since the arrival of Jürgen Klopp. When the German initially arrived, the Dutchman was tasked with a more defensive midfield position to the one in which he impressed in the north east.

It seems a long time ago that Wijnaldum actually finished his first season in the Premier League as top scorer for the Magpies. He spent one season at St. James’ Park before securing a £25m move to Merseyside, becoming one of Klopp’s first signings as Liverpool manager.

Since joining the Reds’ revolution under the German, though, he has certainly enhanced his game. His understanding of the system is clear to see. The timing of his midfield runs are excellent. He is a real asset to the manager.

In a side that has excelled in recent times, a lot of credit has to be given to former PSV man Wijnaldum. He continues to perform both for club and country. Long may it continue.

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