Is Steve McClaren to blame for Georginio Wijnaldum's struggles at Newcastle?

Newcastle Fans 4

Just how has the Dutch Player of the Year started his Newcastle career so poorly?

Georginio Wijnaldum arrived at St James’ Park over the summer as the main signing of a new era for Newcastle United Football Club.

The Tyneside club brought in a player who has a truly great reputation, and who could realistically have moved to any team outside the top four - or even some in the top four.

However, he decided to switch to St James’ Park, moving from the Eredivisie champions PSV to a team who secured their Premier League survival on the final day of last season.

And so far he has looked like a Championship level player, not the player named Eredivisie Player of the Year for the 2014/15 season.

The 24-year-old netted an impressive goal on his debut, securing a 2-2 draw with Southampton, but has since looked out of place in a Premier League side, and a remarkably poor Premier League side at that.

He has been shifted from his number 10 role to a deeper-lying holding role, with little effect, and Wijnaldum is quickly losing the reputation which he had before his move to Tyneside.

The reasons for Wijnaldum’s incredible struggles are almost impossible to suggest, but it is likely the main one rests with Steve McClaren, Newcastle’s already under-pressure head coach.

He has been utilising the midfielder in the wrong position, in a system which does not play to his strengths.

Wijnaldum is best suited to a direct side with counter-attacking ambitions, and it is no surprise that his debut goal for the Magpies came when they hit Southampton on the break, with a cross meeting the Dutch international arriving late in the box.

However, McClaren is insistent on playing a brand of possession football which, not only Wijnaldum is not suited to, but hardly any of the Newcastle squad are technical enough to play.

It is hard to understand how Wijnaldum has gone from the best player in the Netherlands to a struggler in a bad Premier League side in the space of a few months, but it does not shine highly on McClaren’s coaching ability - which has already been questioned following the Magpies' dreadful start to the season.

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