There’s something to be said for the fact that no one saw Gini Wijnaldum coming.
We thought we knew what we’d gotten with him. Since the twenty-five million pound signing in July 2016, he’s proven himself to be a stable, squad rotation player.
So in August, we were all salivating over the orgasmic potential that Naby Keita and Fabinho were going to bring to the midfield. No one was sitting back thinking about Gini Wijnaldum tearing it up. No one was pointing at their midfield team sheets and thinking, “First pick: Gini Wijanldum.”
But since October or November, I’ve been hard pressed to pick a midfield three without the smiling Dutchman. It’s barely even been a choice.
Jurgen Klopp seems to agree, including Gini in 23 out of 26 Premier League squads, 21 of which he started. Put this way: with such an array of midfielders to choose from, competition for a starting spot has been fierce. And yet Gini has played 1850 league minutes, the most of any midfielder. Compare that to the indispensable Mo Salah at 2209 minutes.
Gini has been the glue that holds Liverpool’s most successful defence in decades together with one of the most lethal and feared front three in Europe. He certainly doesn’t get the praise he deserves, at least not outside of Liverpool’s supporters.
But after his goal against Bournemouth in the 34′, it should be hard for him to stay off the radar.
Hands down, this squad would not be where it is today (on route to win the league) without Georginio Wijnaldum. Under pressure as Klopp contends with half a dozen midfield options, Gini has risen to the challenge and become an indispensable player. He’s bossed the midfield, and with twelve games left to play, he’s my vote for Most Valuable Player this year so far.
So let’s all chant DA DA DADADADA GINI WIJNALDUM! and show this man the love he deserves.