By Amir Mir

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has described departed midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum as a ‘very good’ player following his £25million move to Liverpool.

The Dutch international made a switch from the Championship side to the Premier League on Friday evening after only one season on Tyneside.

Despite Benitez’ best efforts to keep his senior players he was full of praise for his former midfielder, stating both parties have made the correct decision.

“We have lost a very good player, but it was the right decision for the club and player,” said Benitez as quoted by Newcastle journalist Lee Ryder.

Talking in the Chronicle, Benitez went on to say that they need players that are focused on the Championship and an immediate return to the top flight.

“We want to be sure the players here will be really focused and that they understand what it means to be promoted for the fans and the city,” said Benitez.

“Gini was a good player and we allowed him to go to a Premier League club. But for us, the reality was that this was a good transfer but also we have kept a good team at the same time.”

Wijnaldum moved to Newcastle last summer from PSV Eindhoven in a £14.5million deal, and quickly became the driving force behind the Magpies’ survival hopes.

The 25-year-old bagged 11 goals and five assists in 40 games last term, which saw his stock rise, despite the team’s poor performances on the field.

However, the versatile midfielder was unable to prevent the club from falling down to the second tier for the second time in seven years.

Benitez will now have to manage without his services as he plans for instant promotion back to the Premier League, as a gruelling Championship season draws closer.

In other Newcastle transfer news, Spanish giants Real Madrid have joined the race to sign the club’s £35 million rated player.