Bolo Zenden believes Georginio Wijnaldum made a “clever choice” by joining Newcastle United and would not be surprised if the midfielder attracts interest from rival clubs on current form.
Only Michael Owen and Alan Shearer cost Newcastle more than the fee – reported to be £14.5million – paid for the Dutch player of the year when he arrived on Tyneside from PSV in July.
Netherlands international Wijnaldum has hit the ground running in England, scoring six goals in his first nine Premier League games – including four in the 6-2 hammering of Norwich City last weekend.
Former Sunderland midfielder Zenden, who was on the coaching staff at PSV last season and has held talks over a return to the Eredivisie champions, thinks Wijnaldum is reaping the rewards of not leaving his homeland before he was ready.
And Zenden thinks the 24-year-old could be in demand if he can maintain the high standards he has set in his short time at St James’ Park ahead of Sunday’s derby against Sunderland.
He told Omnisport: “I rate him very highly, because he’s a player who didn’t move from Holland at an early age. He stuck around to be more important, to become captain of PSV, to become a leader on and off the pitch and settle down.
“He worked hard on and off the pitch and works as a professional should do and that’s why I really enjoyed the fact that he scored four goals (against Norwich). He’s a clever player and I was happy for him.”
The ex-Barcelona, Liverpool and Chelsea man added: “I think he made a clever choice. Sometimes you make a certain step and it’s the wrong one, but I guess at Newcastle he can work at his best and who says that Newcastle is his final destination.
“If he continues to work at his best he may choose to stay at Newcastle, or some other big club may come along and he could decide to move on.
“It’s always good to see when a player finds his feet quickly and maybe that’s got something to do with the fact the he opted to stay in Holland and be a bit more mature before moving on.”