Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dutch Ace Tipped for a Warm Reception

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dutch Ace Tipped for a Warm Reception

Article excerpt

RAFA Benitez believes Newcastle United fans "understand" why Georginio Wijnaldum left for Liverpool following relegation - and does not expect the Dutchman to receive a negative reception when he returns this weekend.

The 26-year-old departed Tyneside after just one season, joining the Reds in a PS25million deal during the summer of 2016 - but will return to St James' Park for the first time tomorrow.

Unlike Moussa Sissoko, however, the Dutch midfielder never publicly stated his desire to leave - and remained thoroughly professional before his transfer. Some fans were understandably angered Wijnaldum, who scored 11 goals in the doomed 2015/16 campaign, did not stay and help United return to the top flight at the first time of asking.

Benitez, though, stresses the lure of joining a club of Liverpool's stature over spending a season in the Championship is strong, comparing it to Philippe Coutinho being tempted to leave Anfield to win trophies with Barcelona this summer. …

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