Thursday, 15 November 2012


Who is he? Where does he play?

We'll ignore the unorthadox surname enough to tell you Wijnaldum is a 21 year old Dutch attacking midfielder who, with his long locks frollicking in the wind as he glides across the pristine surfaces of the Eredivisie, looks suspiciously like "sexy football" advocate Ruud Gullit. The playmaker, who can also operate on the wing, plays for Dutch luminaries PSV Eindhoven.

Oooohh... Ruud Gullit.. he was good..

He was indeed, but rather than possessing the brutish force that Gullit displayed during his success-littered time with AC Milan in the early 90s, Wijnaldum is like a Gullit-lite, a copybook version thrown into the modern era of physically-slight footballers who pass and move beneath the imposing structure of Lionel Messi. The winger weaves between defenders like a liquid ball, or tries to, after past criticisms of failing to deal with the more robust side of defending.

So, he's a bit of a ponce?

That's a bit unfair, and rather stereotypical against the type of diminutive attacker that is all the rage in modern football. Standing at a midget-like 5ft 8, it was always going to take Wijnaldum time to adapt to the more physical demands of the sport, but his strength has improved tenfold since departing Feyenoord (where he grew up) to join Eindhoven. He is now a mainstay in Dick Advocaat's plans (after convincing former coach Fred Rutten) in screwdriver country, playing six times in a productive campaign so far, hitting 4 goals.

21 you say, he's been around a bit?

Yes he has, making his debut aged 16 (the youngest player ever for Feyenoord) before going on to register over 100 appearances for the Rotterdam club who he left, because, frankly, they're now a bit rubbish. His rise was noticed by the Netherlands national team too, who handed him his debut in the senior squad last summer in which he netted against San Marino (they all count). He has won two KNVB cups domestically, one with Feyenoord, one with Eindhoven.

Anything else to add?

Well, you mentioned Ruud Gullit, or I mentioned Ruud Gullit, it doesn't matter, but he does resemble the latter-day dread-locked hair genius with his natural position being a central midfielder in the play-maker mould. With an ability to pick a pass and dribble both deep and in the final third, forever attempting to create, his versatility can put him on the path to be a very talented, "complete" footballer. Like Ruud Gu... yeah, you know by now...

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