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Giliano Wijnaldum odd man out at left back

It might be a while before Wijnaldum is the Union's answer at left back

Pat Jacoby Photography

Sometimes you can learn much more from what’s not said than what’s actually said. In today’s press conference, Philadelphia Union manager was asked about Giliano Wijnaldum and if after Fabinho’s costly mistake in the match against the Portland Timbers he would get a consideration. Curtin’s answer was that Fabinho wouldn't be judged by his one mistake and that most clubs only carry one extra outside back in the eighteen. He went on to say that Ray Gaddis has experience and can play both sides and that while Wijnaldum looked good with Bethlehem Steel FC, Gaddis would most likely remain his choice in the eighteen.

What wasn't said is that the Union’s highly-touted Dutch left back isn't remotely close to getting any minutes. Philly Voice’s Kevin's Kinkead said it best in this tweet:

That's pretty damning, not only of Wijnaldum but of the entire process used to sign him. Wijnaldum was signed to be the immediate replacement for Fabinho, and Curtin’s non-statement makes it clear that Wijnaldum isn’t replacing anyone any time soon. At least in the short-term, Earnie Stewart and Chris Albright have to take some of the blame for this, as they're in charge of player acquisitions for the club.

“As a young player who I have worked with before in the Netherlands, I know firsthand the potential he brings to our club,” Stewart said in the press release when Wijnaldum was signed. “We are eager to integrate him within the squad and believe he has a bright future with the Union.”

While Wijnaldum may have the potential, for one reason or another he isn't living up to it. To be fair, it's a huge adjustment coming from the Netherlands to the United States, and Wijnaldum may be having issues with that adjustment which in turn impact his ability to perform for the Union. He may yet turn out to be the left back of the future - at some point in the future.

In the present though, Wijnaldum is stuck in Bethlehem and doesn't look out of place there.