Georginio Wijnaldum made his debut for Newcastle against Southampton.
Newcastle started their new Premier League season with a 2-2 at home to Southampton, courtesy of goals from Papiss Cisse and Georginio Wijnaldum.
They earned their victory with a strong performance, and although the Saints could have won all three points - were it not for some great goalkeeping by Tim Krul - the attacking play looked far improved from that seen under John Carver last term.
Steve McClaren looks to have created a new look side, and although the head coach should take a lot of the praise, much of this new threat was down to the presence of new signings. Chancel Mbemba solidified the defence alongside Fabricio Coloccini, whilst Aleksandar Mitrovic showed off a high energy style of play during his 15 minute cameo.
However, it was the performance of one of the goalscorers which showed the promise that the Magpies possess for the 2015/16 season.
Georginio Wijnaldum netted a top class goal with a powerful directed header from Gabriel Obertan’s cross, as the Tyneside club took the lead just after half time from a fantastic counter attack.
It was the highlight of WIjnaldum’s Premier League debut, as the Dutch international impressed with an attacking display.
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Playing as the number 10, sitting just behind Cisse up front, Wijnaldum lasted 81 minutes of action. He scored from one of his two shots on target, and was a willing runner into the attacking zones. Unfortunately, running into the channels and playing crosses - of which he made four - meant that no one was arriving in the box late to win headers. His all round attacking play across the front line meant that his number 10 position was vacant when most needed.
Most impressively for WIjnaldum, playing in the advanced role he was, he completed 95% of his attempted passes, playing 21 successful passes. Considering he was often in the attacking zone, and was attempting to create play for much of the game, Wijanldum’s precision with his play is a pleasing factor that should only improve Newcastle’s attacking play with time.
In fact, of all attacking players to play over 20 passes at the weekend, no one had a better completion rate than the Dutchman.
The Magpies completed a real coup by securing WIjnaldum’s signature this summer, as he is a player of the quality to be able to compete at the top level of European football. However, he signed with Newcastle, and is considered the main man behind their revival under Steve McClaren.
The 81 minutes he played on his debut suggested that he will live up to his billing as the Magpies’ key man, and with more game time under his belt alongside his new teammates, it is hard to deny that Wijnaldum looks like he will become a star of St James’ Park.