Jetro Willems has been speaking to the Dutch press about life at Newcastle, his preferred position and how a visit to St James Park and call from close friend Gini Wijnaldum influenced his decision to sign this summer.
The latter seemed particularly key, with Willems revealing how the former NUFC star urged him to sign at St James’ Park when we showed interest over the summer.
The pair were team mates during their time at PSV and remain close friends.
Here’s what Willems has had to say when speaking to Dutch outlet AD:
“I spoke with Gini then (in the summer).
“He said, ‘Believe me, Jetro. Go to Newcastle. A good city, warm people. A great atmosphere. Just do your thing and you’ll be fine‘.
“I trusted that.
“If I wanted to achieve my goals and further develop myself in a more natural and trusted position (not in midfield), I had to do that somewhere else (other than Eintracht Frankfurt). I am just 25 years old.
“They (Eintracht Frankfurt) accepted and respected my story, I am very happy with that.
“Not everyone knows…but I am not a difficult boy.
“Even when I’m not playing, I stay focused and try to make other boys better. I am fully committed.
“That’s why they agreed. I just wanted something different. And start again”.
He also had some heart warming words to say about St James Park, when he visited Wijnaldum in 2015 and watched him play three times whilst out with a knee injury.
“I came to watch Gini. I felt the special atmosphere.
“You are closer to the field than in the Netherlands and when someone shot the ball into the stands, they started clapping. I thought that was weird.
“I am enjoying it (at Newcastle). That is the most important thing.
“Sometimes you forget to enjoy the talent that you have received and the possibilities that you get. Now I do that again. I think you can see that in my game.
“Sometimes we (Willems and Wijnaldum) play Playstation. Or we Facetime.
“Of course he is an example. Gini has won the Champions League. Every footballer wants that.”
The Dutch left back has been brilliant in recent weeks and with his reported fee as low as £10m, it seems nonsensical to not make that deal permanent in the summer, if not before.
Willems almost joined the club of names like Bafetimbi Gomis and Bas Dost in constantly being linked with joining us, but never actually doing so. We all had our eyes on Stanley Nsoki of PSG last summer, as it was widely reported that he would be the attacking left back we’ve been after for years, but then we finally got our man in Willems in a deal that came from nowhere.
It’s remarkable to think that such is the former PSV man’s form, that it’s hard to see Matt Ritchie regaining his place when he returns from injury, in the current system at least. Certainly a thought that would have been inconceivable weeks ago.
Long may it continue, and certainly another goal on Monday like his strike at Anfield would do very nicely. In fact, I’d settle for one going in off his backside!