Wijnaldum: ‘If I am called up, there will be a meeting with Van Gaal first’
“I have had no contact with Van Gaal at all. I did not think about Orange at all when I chose Roma, I must say honestly,” says 31-year-old Wijnaldum. “I just want to play and be happy.”
Wijnaldum lost that luck last year at Paris Saint-Germain, where he got less and less time to play. The French club will rent him this season to AS Roma, where Jose Mourinho will be his coach.
Do not complain
“This club showed that it wanted me very much. That gave me the last push,” emphasizes Wijnaldum. “Other players choose a club because they want to play in a World Cup or in the Champions League, but for me it doesn’t work that way. If I’m happy and can play well, the World Cup will come.”
The fact that Wijnaldum was left at home by Van Gaal as vice-captain for four international matches in June led to surprised reactions, also from other internationals. Wijnaldum does not deliver, was the motivation of the national coach.
“The last international matches were not my best matches,” Wijnaldum agrees. “If you don’t play well and get substituted, you shouldn’t complain.”
He didn’t feel hurt after Van Gaal didn’t select him. “But there are things I think differently than him. I still have to discuss that with the coach, if he would call me up again. He can say what he doesn’t like and I can say what I don’t like. “
“Actually, I don’t want to make any statements about it now. If I’m having trouble with something, I must first discuss it with Van Gaal. Only then can you possibly bring it out.”
Fan reception makes Wijnaldum feel uncomfortable
At the moment, Wijnaldum is not busy with the Orange or the World Cup. He is preparing for the new season with AS Roma, which starts on Sunday in the Serie A with a betting match against Salernitana.
Wijnaldum was welcomed by supporters of the Roman club last week. “I even found that a bit uncomfortable. I’m just a normal boy. It never ceases to amaze me that so many people can be so happy with the arrival of a new player, in this case with me. That does something to me.”
Watch in this video how Wijnaldum was received upon arrival in Rome.
The fans crave success. Roma won the Conference League last year by beating Feyenoord in the final, but the last league title dates back to 2001. “If good players come, the fans will dream”, Wijnaldum notes. “They have to do that too, we as players do too. We will have to grow during the season and other teams have a better chance, but nothing is impossible.”
‘Every footballer wants to play the World Cup’
Because of the enthusiasm of the fans, Wijnaldum immediately feels appreciated. “I had to find a club where I can play again and be happy. I’m not thinking about the World Cup at all yet. If I’m not happy and don’t play at a club and can’t enjoy it, then I won’t make it to the World Cup anyway. “
But, don’t misunderstand him. Wijnaldum would love to play in Qatar. “I played a World Cup once before, in Brazil. That was the best thing I’ve experienced as a footballer. Every footballer wants to play at the World Cup. But the most important thing now is that I’m happy again.”