Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum (left) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mate Virgil van Dijk during the UEFA Champions League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

Liverpool’s Dutch duo lend helping hand to former youth clubs with heartening gesture

Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum have provided a helping hand to their former clubs in Holland after football was brought to a premature end in their native country.

Van Dijk, formally of Groningen, and Wijnaldum, once at Sparta Rotterdam, have each purchased four season tickets to help their former sides in a period of financial uncertainty.

Dutch clubs are to experience economically challenging times after their season was declared null and void in late April after the government banned all events until September due to the pandemic.

And the unprecedented period has seen both Van Dijk and Wijnaldum step in to help teams that shaped them as young professionals.

Groningen were ninth in the Eredivisie before the league was voided and Van Dijk has brilliantly stepped in to help by buying four season tickets which will be raffled off to supporters who would normally be unable to afford them.

“I bought four season tickets for the coming season. I help with this FC Groningen in this difficult time,” Van Dijk explained on his social media platforms.

“The season tickets are ultimately raffled among FC fans who cannot purchase one themselves!”

Van Dijk’s senior career started at Groningen in 2011 after joining as a youth player from Willem II in 2010, and they made their appreciation for his gesture known as they responded to his post with “Big Virgil!”

Liverpool’s No. 4 spent the majority of the 2010/11 season with Groningen’s academy before making his senior debut in the final month of the campaign, where he went on to make 63 appearances in the following two seasons before making the move to Celtic in the summer of 2013.

The act of kindness did not stop there, however, as Wijnaldum followed in his Liverpool and international teammate’s footsteps by purchasing four season tickets for Sparta Rotterdam.

Wijnaldum joined Sparta as a seven-year-old in 1997, spending seven seasons at the club before making the switch to fellow Dutch side Feyenoord at the age of 14, where he became the youngest player ever to play in Feyenoord’s first team at 16.

And the 29-year-old has given back to the club which kickstarted his career as he announced on Twitter in reply to Van Dijk’s post: “Ai Virgil, top action I follow you and I will do this for fans of Sparta Rotterdam too.”

They are two more classy gestures which continue to exemplify the giving and caring nature of not only Liverpool’s side but football and the players which exist within it across the world.

The pair, like those across the Premier League, are patiently awaiting updates on when the Premier League aims to return, with small group training, with social distancing protocols, expected to start on Tuesday.