English Premiership

'Liverpool will miss Wijnaldum's midfield drive', says Neville

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Georginio Wijnaldum (Getty Images)
Georginio Wijnaldum (Getty Images)

Gary Neville thinks Liverpool have made a huge mistake by letting Georginio Wijnaldum leave the club and will battle to find a replacement with his drive and determination in midfield.

The departing Dutch midfielder was a vital cog in Jurgen Klopp's side for five seasons, playing a significant role in their success. However, he leaves Anfield this summer after disagreeing on a new contract.

The free-agent star has now agreed to sign for PSG, where he's explained how they convinced him ahead of Barcelona.

His energy and eye for a goal were on display on Sunday night as the Netherlands opened their Euro 2020 campaign against Ukraine. And Wijnaldum reminded Liverpool fans what they are missing with a brilliantly taken opener.

It takes his record to 23 goals in 76 appearances for his country – not at all bad for a midfielder.

Wijnaldum has a massive fan in the form of Gary Neville. He often marvelled at his brilliance in a Liverpool shirt.

Michael Edwards, in his role of sporting director at Liverpool, oversees all their transfers. But after allowing him to walk away as a free agent, and after witnessing his performance on Sunday, Neville fears Liverpool will struggle to replace him.

"[He's an] unsung hero," said the United legend. "People talk about all the great players Liverpool have, and he very rarely gets a mention.

"I think he'll be badly missed next season. It'll prove very difficult to replace him at Liverpool. He's one of those players that keeps things ticking.

"You don't look at him and think he's doing anything outstandingly well. But I would imagine his teammates respect him enormously because he covers a lot of areas on the pitch.

"He does things simply for his teammates. He's an unselfish player, and he's an important player for this Dutch team."

Brighton's Yves Bissouma, Florian Neuhaus of Borussia Monchengladbach and Leicester playmaker Youri Tielemans have all been mentioned as possible replacements in the Liverpool side.

Wijnaldum played his last match for Liverpool against Crystal Palace on the final day of the Premier League season. He leaves with a ringing endorsement from Klopp.

The midfielder has revealed it was not just the fans that wished to see him stay. Per the Dutchman, multiple sections of the club's staff – including the players – weren't on board with his exit.

Wijnaldum has promised to reveal all after Euro 2020 concludes.

"I'd have loved to remain a Liverpool player for many more years, but unfortunately, things went different," wrote Wijnaldum.

"I have to start a new adventure. I didn't sign somewhere else [before leaving Liverpool]; everyone knows in football everything can happen.

"The situation right now is that as of July 1, I'm not a Liverpool player anymore. We will see what I will do in the next couple of weeks.

"I will rest a little bit and then go to the national team. I will have a look at my story and how everything went. The fans deserve to know the story behind it."

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