Georginio Wijnaldum has made a big splash since his £14.7 million summer switch to Newcastle - the third most expensive signing in the club's history. With nine Premier League goals from midfield, he has kept the Magpies' heads above water during an unexpected relegation fight.
However, it's not the on-pitch battle that has most troubled the Dutchman since moving from PSV Eindhoven - it's the Geordie accent.
As per The Telegraph, Wijnaldum said: “I can speak English quite well, but there are some words which I don’t know and it’s difficult to explain what you mean, but if I ask the players or other people how to say something, they will help me.
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“The people on the street, sometimes they speak Geordie and when I say ‘Sorry?’ they realise I don’t understand, so they speak with less [of an] accent so I can.”
As often heard with Newcastle signings, the Toon Army's passion is what blows the 25-year-old away. Whilst at first he was uninterested in a switch to St James' Park, Wijnaldum was convinced to join by head coach Steve McClaren and managing director Lee Charnley.
"In the beginning, I never thought I would play for Newcastle," he admits. "But my manager told me that this was a big club. In Holland we don't know how big, but this is a really big club.
“I spoke with the manager, he called me before I signed, and he gave me a really good feeling. After that, I had a good feeling about it and just followed my heart, that’s why I chose Newcastle.
“It’s not easy to settle in if you come to a new club, especially in your first year, but it has went well so far. I’m glad that they [the fans] are happy with me, it makes me happy. I love playing in front of our own fans. But I’m looking forward to scoring an away goal now!"
Indeed, all nine of Wijnaldum's goals have come at St James' Park - seven of them during televised games. The Feyenoord academy graduate is aware that he's been accused of going 'missing' during away games. He's determined to break his duck.
“I think I need that goal, but also the team needs it and it’s going to be better for my confidence if I can score an away goal," he said. "I want to celebrate in another stadium.”
With £29 million spent in January, everyone at the club is determined to escape the drop.
“Last year [with PSV], even if we played some bad games, we would win them," adds Wijnaldum. "This year is different because we don't win a lot of games, so now you must show character and show you can also fight.
“At PSV we had to fight to win every single game that we played. This year, we fight to not lose a game and not to be in the relegation zone. It’s difficult.”
One of last summer's more successful Premier League imports, Wijnaldum is completely focused on keeping Newcastle in the top flight. Only then can he master the local lingo.
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