Cody Gakpo remains a key target for Manchester United and Phil Hay and Carl Anka have discussed just what makes the PSV Eindhoven man so valuable.
Writing for The Athletic, the pair went into detail on his incredible output during his time as a youth player in the Netherlands.
Twan Scheepers, who coached Gakpo for PSV Eindhoven’s under-11s, said “Yeah, he’d often score nine goals, something like that.
“The score could be 16-3, 16-2, and he’d score a lot. But afterwards he never spoke about the goals or how many he’d got, or he didn’t speak about it as a good thing. (Instead, it was) If he scored nine, how could he score 12?
“How could he run better or how could his technical skills be better? Those were the conversations we had, every single time.”
That dedication to bettering himself has never dissipated. Gakpo has a keen sense of professionalism, but it is his technical skills that have always caught the eye first.
“It’s the dribble,” Scheepers says regarding Gakpo’s most valuable asset. “The one-on-ones, passing the opponent at speed, getting the right timing in front of goal. As we say in Holland, he could always find the shortest way to goal.
“As a defender, you’d be concerned about playing him because in an instant he changes the game. Even in the 94th minute, he believes in always being in the right place, because something could happen.”
Finding the shortest way to goal has certainly become a habit this season. He is currently on eighteen goals already this season.
But to talk only of his goals would undermine his creative nous, with the Dutchman also registering ten assists in the same period.
That record gives Gakpo a goal contribution roughly every 58 minutes this season for club and country – an astounding level of productivity for any winger.
Certainly he seems ready for a step up.
“At this moment, you could definitely say he is too good to play in the Eredivisie,” says Voetbal International’s Lentin Goodijk. “He is so deadly when he gets the space against the teams that do not defend so well.”
While his outrageous productivity would surely see some sort of hit in the Premier League, even half as effective as he is would still see him among the best wingers in the game.
As captain of PSV, he has taken to responsibility well (to say the least) and is central to his team’s overall play.
It is hard to imagine him not being a central figure under Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, should the club succeed in signing him.
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