Van Gaal ‘worried’ as he aims dig at Pochettino over use of former Liverpool star

Date published: Tuesday 5th October 2021 8:39 - Jonny Whitfield

Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal

Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal says that he feels worried at the amount of game time former Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum is getting at Paris Saint-Germain.

The Dutch midfielder was one of four headline-grabbing free transfers for the French giants this summer. Following a disagreement over his contract at Anfield, Wijnaldum decided to move on as a free agent.

His representative revealed in June that Inter were the first “serious” option on the table. While Bayern Munich, Juventus and Barcelona also made their voices heard, though, Wijnaldum picked PSG.

Indeed, he admitted that the Ligue 1 club swayed him with manager Mauricio Pochettino’s “project” – which centres around the Champions League.

So far, Wijnaldum has played in eight of nine Ligue 1 games, completing two 90-minute stints. In the Champions League, though, he has only played 57 minutes over two games.

Speaking at a Netherlands press conference, Van Gaal admitted concern for his compatriot’s game time.

“Of course I’m worried,” the newly-appointed manager told the Daily Mirror.

“I already talked to him about that when I arrived. But the alarm bells are not going off yet.”

Amid concern for his lack of action, Wijnaldum is competing with several stars in PSG’s midfield.

Idrissa Gueye, Ander Herrera and summer signing Danilo Pereira are all in the battle for game time.

Meanwhile, Marco Verratti returned from injury in last week’s 2-0 Champions League win over Manchester City. After the game, former Manchester United star Ashley Young urged the Red Devils to sign the Italian.

Wijnaldum’s drop in game time may stand out more following his role at Liverpool. He was one of Jurgen Klopp’s most trusted players and made 237 appearances across five seasons.

Klopp hailed ‘astonishing’ Wijnaldum

PSG midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum holding up four fingers 2021

Speaking after his move to Paris, Liverpool boss Klopp opened up on the impact of the 30-year-old’s exit.

“It was difficult for all of us because of how much this astonishing person means to the group,” Klopp said. “He’s been a big part of our lives for so long. There is nothing I won’t miss about him.

“I will miss the player he is like crazy – highest-quality ability, one of the smartest players I have ever had the privilege to coach. His contribution was off the scale, a manager’s dream.”

Liverpool did not react to his departure with a signing, instead bringing 18-year-old Harvey Elliott – who is now injured – into the fold.


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