Benitez says Wijnaldum still a Newcastle player

Newcastle's Georginio Wijnaldum shoots

The Newcastle United ace is strongly linked to Liverpool.

Newcastle's Georginio Wijnaldum shoots

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez has insisted that he will not exile in-demand Georginio Wijnaldum from first-team duties despite the intense speculation linking him with a move to Liverpool this summer.

It was reported on Thursday from Sky Sports that Liverpool had agreed a £25 million fee for the Newcastle man, whose 11 Premier League goals last season was not enough to keep the Magpies in the top flight.

Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates scoring the third goal for Newcastle from the penalty spot

But it's business as usual for Benitez, who gave the Netherlands international an 11-minute cameo in the 2-2 draw away to Doncaster Rovers on Wednesday night.

In truth, it seems only a matter of time before the former PSV Eindhoven man completes his move to Liverpool, but the Spanish manager insists that he will continue playing the 25-year-old in friendlies to get him ready for a year in the Championship.

“He is still our player and that means he has to be ready for us," he told The Northern Echo.

“If something happens (with Liverpool), we will know in some days. But until something changes, we will continue training and working with him, and we will continue playing him in the games.”

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp

Liverpool have enjoyed a very decent summer as far as transfers go, having already signed the likes of Joel Matip and Sadio Mane - the latter of whom joined for £34 million.

Jurgen Klopp has also brought Loris Karius and Ragnar Klavan to Anfield in low-profile deals.

Georginio Wijnaldum scores the first goal for NewcastleGeorginio Wijnaldum scores the first goal for Newcastle

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