Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum has been named the new captain of the Netherlands national team in the absence of Virgil van Dijk.
The centre-half faces an extended stay on the side-lines after picking up a nasty ACL injury in the Merseyside Derby, leaving the No.4 needing surgery.
Wijnaldum has been recognised as one of his national side’s leaders by being handed the armband by Frank de Boer for upcoming fixtures.
Speaking to NOS (via Sport Witness), the Dutch boss said: “It’s of course sad that Virgil is not there. That’s a great loss. You only need to look at his achievements in recent years and what kind of personality he is within the group.
“But as always – as the one king falls away, the next king must rise. Gini is a real connector. You saw that when the racism issue was topical. He then took the pioneering role.”
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Even though Wijnaldum often calls van Dijk ‘big bro’ on social media, he’s actually older than the centre-half and has just celebrated his 30th birthday.
The midfielder has bags of experience and has been a major part in the steep incline at Anfield over the last four-to-five years.
As de Boer pointed out, Gini was brilliant in making a stand against racism – which obviously still remains a huge issue in football and wider society – with his powerful celebration with team-mate Frenkie de Jong.
Image: De Jong and Liverpool's Wijnaldum during Holland's game with Estonia. #NoToRacism pic.twitter.com/CWDLwnRgqt
— barcacentre (@barcacentre) November 19, 2019