A STAR IN QATAR
Gakpo has been on fire for the Dutch, scoring in all three group games
The Dutch have scored five goals so far in Qatar - and Cody Gakpo has hit three of them. He’s the first Dutchman to score in all three group games.
Gakpo’s goals have opened the scoring in every game. He’s the joint-top marksman at World Cup 2022, together with Mbappé, Valencia, Morata and Rashford.
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal is in no doubt: “He’s very young and has all the tools to be a future star. He has personality and is eager to learn.”
Team-mates such as Memphis Depay have also praised Gakpo: “He’s a top player, great to play with. He’s performed unbelievably well.”
This season, Gakpo has 13 goals in all competitions for PSV, and netted two for the Netherlands in the Nations League.
In 2022, Gakpo has 29 goals and 24 assists for club and country - figures on a par with the likes of Argentina star Lionel Messi, who has 28 and 27.
At the start of 2022, Gakpo's transfer value was around €22 million. Now, it has risen to €45 million. He’s a quick, tall winger who’s very versatile.
As a kid, he went to watch PSV every week, and learned from superstars such as Patrick Kluivert, Mark van Bommel and Arjen Robben.
The most influential former PSV star is Ruud van Nistelrooy. The ex-striker was Gakpo’s youth coach, and is now in charge of the seniors.
After PSV sold the likes of Malen and Dumfries, Gakpo has become the side's leader, and top clubs are eyeing him. Erik ten Hag wants to take him to Man Utd following Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit.
His coach isn’t surprised: “Given how good he is and the form he’s in, it’s not surprising he’s catching the eye of leading clubs.”
Gakpo didn’t have an easy start to his career: as a youngster, he had lengthy layoffs after tearing his calf muscle and breaking his ankle.
His father is a Togolese former footballer, and his mother is a Belgian ex-rugby player. Brother Sydney plays for RPC Eindhoven, and his other sibling, Duc, is on the books at PSV.
On Saturday, Gakpo will look to add to his tally in Qatar when the Netherlands take on the United States in the last 16. Kickoff is at 10am ET.