By Russell Edge
Former Newcastle midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has opened up about his time at Newcastle, saying the relegation struggle led to him forgetting how to enjoy the game.
The Dutch international midfielder left St James’ Park following Newcastle’s relegation at the end of the 2015/16, joining Liverpool in a big money transfer.
The midfielder ended the campaign as Newcastle’s top scorer with 11 goals from 38 appearances but has been very critical of his solitary season on Tyneside.
The 26-year-old told the Sunday Mirror: “I had good intentions when I went to Newcastle.
“As soon as you don’t win games the confidence goes away and basically you’re fighting to survive.”
Wijnaldum joined Newcastle from Dutch side PSV while they were under the stewardship of Steve McClaren.
However, after a torrid two thirds of the season with the Magpies which left them facing a relegation battle, he was sacked.
McClaren was replaced by former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez and although he improved fortunes on Tyneside, it proved to be too little too late as the club fell into the Championship, and Benitez was willing to let Wijnaldum depart when Liverpool came knocking.
However, the 38-time-capped Dutch international admitted that he fell out of love with the game during his time at St James’ Park, the stadium he scored all of his Magpies goals at.
“At the end of the season my joy disappeared,” he told the Sunday Mirror.
“It was about fighting. It wasn’t football anymore.
“You forget how you can enjoy football.”
The midfielder’s passion for the beautiful game seems to have returned this season having gone on to make 37 appearances for the Reds, scoring five goals.
In other Newcastle transfer news, the club have been made favourites to sign a 19-year-old with 25 goals this season.