De Jong hinted Jurgen Klopp could have got more from Wijnaldum as the PSG-bound midfielder lined up in Sunday’s Euro 2020 last-16 clash against the Czech Republic
Gary Neville disagreed with Nigel De Jong over the Netherlands’ chances of winning Euro 2020 – as the former Holland midfielder suggested Liverpool made a mistake over Gini Wijnaldum.
Wijnaldum will become a Paris Saint-Germain player after his Reds contract ends this week – although on Sunday he was concentrating on the Dutch bid for European Championship glory.
The 30-year-old lined up for Frank de Boer’s side in Sunday’s last-16 clash against the Czech Republic, playing in the attacking midfield role from which he scored three goals in the group stages.
And speaking ahead of the game, De Jong hinted Liverpool might have got more out of Wijnaldum had Jurgen Klopp tried him in a similar position instead of his usual deeper midfield role.
“If you look at the position he plays for Holland, he plays a more advanced role and he has the opportunity to score more goals,” said De Jong, who was on punditry duty on ITV.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
“That was the difference between how he played for Liverpool and when he played for Holland. He is one of the most important players for Holland and even has more goals than [Marco] Van Basten.”
Wijnaldum has scored 25 goals in his 78 games for the Netherlands – that’s three more than from his 237 Liverpool games.
Scoring was not his brief at Anfield with Klopp requiring a different role from the midfielder – although at times last term the Reds could have done with more goals from their engine room.
Meanwhile, De Jong believes the Dutch skipper can inspire his side to a repeat of their 1988 Euro triumph.
“The belief is back, the nation is fully behind the team,” said former Manchester City midfielder De Jong.
“They played very well during the group stages and came out comfortably. Everybody is in good spirits and they are now backing the manager after he has overcome a tough period since Koeman left.”
Neville disagreed, saying the Netherlands haven’t got enough world-class players – especially in the absence of Liverpool talisman Virgil van Dijk.
The former Manchester United defender played down Dutch chances despite their group-stage wins over Ukraine, Austria and North Macedonia.
“I like them, but without Van Dijk they haven’t got a world star,” said Neville, who was with De Jong in the ITV studio.
“They weren’t impressive in their first game, but as soon as De Ligt returned they were much better defensively. I still do not think that they will go the full way, I think Nigel is getting too excited but they don’t have the quality all over the pitch like the other sides.”