Georginio Wijnaldum: There’s no escaping Wear-Tyne derby – even in the supermarket!

Georginio Wijnaldum
Georginio Wijnaldum

It didn’t take Georginio Wijnaldum to feel at home on Tyneside.

And the Newcastle United midfielder’s feeling at home on the pitch at St James’s Park.

Wijnaldum, preparing for the weekend’s visit to Wearside, left the stadium on Sunday evening with a black holdall slung over his shoulder.

Inside it was the matchball, signed by all his team-mates.

It had been quite an afternoon for the 24-year-old, who had scored four goals in the club’s 6-2 win over Norwich City.

A £14million price can weigh heavy on a player’s shoulders, especially when things aren’t going well on the pitch.

Georginio Wijnaldum

Georginio Wijnaldum

But Wijnaldum, the club’s third-most expensive signing behind Alan Shearer and Michael Owen, never felt under any pressure from United’s fans.

And he’s looking to repay their faith in him with more goals.

“Newcastle paid a lot of money for me, and when it goes bad you know that supporters will be angry at players who were bought for most money,” said the Holland international.

“But that was not the case here. They supported me. My team-mates and all the people here supported me.

Newcastle paid a lot of money for me, and when it goes bad you know that supporters will be angry at players who were bought for most money. But that was not the case here.

Steve McClaren

“So I already feel at home. When I go home my family ask me how it is in Newcastle and I say it’s OK and I feel at home.

“That’s why I can give the performances like I do now. I want to repay them.

“That’s what I have wanted to do in matches before Norwich, but it was difficult. We repaid them with a win.”

Wijnaldum, however, knows the Norwich result, while heartening, changes little.

Newcastle, now 18th in the Premier League, are still two points adrift of safety ahead of Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby, a fixture which hasn’t been kind to the club in recent years.

Consistency is the key for Wijnaldum, who captained PSV Eindhoven to the Eredivisie title in Holland last season.

“We have to do it every week,” he said. “We have to win a few games in a row.

“That is going to be the challenge for us, not just in 45 minutes or in one game, in a lot of games.”

Confidence had seemingly been at a low ebb after the 6-1 defeat to Manchester City at the Eithad Stadium before the international break.

And the pressure on Steve McClaren – and his players – had been intense ahead of the Norwich game.

“Every game you win gives you more confidence,” said Wijnaldum.

“You win more games and you become more relaxed.

“There was a lot of pressure on the team, but we still feel we can win more games.

“We have the confidence, and if we train well and do what we did before, we will get the results that we want.”

The result that supporters want above all else is a derby victory after five successive defeats to Sunderland, beaten by West Bromwich Albion at the weekend in what was Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge.

Wijnaldum said: “When I walk down the street or go into the supermarket, Newcastle fans talk with me.

“They talk directly about this game against Sunderland.

“I have already seen how much impact this game has for supporters.

“I see what they want from the players, we must try to win this game.”