Georginio Wijnaldum admitted he is “not completely happy” with a lack of playing time at Paris Saint-Germain but has vowed to fight for his place in the side.
The 30-year-old joined the Ligue 1 giants on a free transfer in June after failing to agree a new deal with Liverpool, where he had been a regular for the past five seasons.
Having started five of PSG’s first seven games this term, Wijnaldum was named in the starting line-up just once in their five matches prior to the international break.
He has played a part in all but one of the French side’s 12 fixtures in all competitions, but the midfielder is not pleased to be playing back-up to Marco Verratti, Idrissa Gueye and Ander Herrera.
“I can’t say I’m completely happy,” he said at a pre-match news conference ahead of the Netherlands’ World Cup qualifier against Gibraltar.
“The situation is not what I wanted. I have played a lot in recent years, was always fit and also did very well.
“This is something different and that takes getting used to. I was really looking forward to the new step and then this happens. It is very difficult.
“That’s football and I’ll have to learn to deal with that. I’m a fighter. I have to stay positive and work hard to turn it around.”
Wijnaldum made 51 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions last season – his most in a single campaign since making his senior debut for Feyenoord in 2006-07.
The 502 minutes Wijnaldum has played this season is the 12th most among PSG players, behind the likes of Gueye (588) and Herrera (868).
Speaking last week, Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal said he was “worried” by Wijnaldum’s situation at the Parc des Princes.
“I already talked to him about that when he arrived here. But the alarm bells are not sounding just yet. I have lots of trust in certain players,” Van Gaal added.
“You will remember I took him to the World Cup in 2014 when he was carrying an injury. I started with [Jonathan] De Guzman but Wijnaldum soon took over and did well.”
Wijnaldum is in contention to start the Netherlands’ home match with Gibraltar on Monday, with victory enough to guarantee a top-two finish in Group G should other results go their way.