Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman has suggested that Cody Gakpo’s move to Liverpool came ‘too early’, following the winger’s struggles at Anfield.
Gakpo has had an underwhelming start to his Liverpool career after joining the Reds in a £37m deal from PSV Eindhoven last month, with the 23-year-old having failed to score or provide an assist in six appearances across all competitions.
The Dutch international arrived with a growing reputation after an impressive World Cup with the national side, while he was the leading goalscorer and assist provider in the Eredivisie across the first half of the campaign.
Gakpo has joined Liverpool at a difficult period with Jurgen Klopp’s side having won just once in seven games since the turn of the new year.
Koeman – who replaced Louis van Gaal as the Netherlands manager after the World Cup – has discussed Gakpo’s struggles and believes the move to the Premier League might have come ‘too early’ in the winger’s development.
“He has ended up in a team that is not doing well,” Koeman said on a YouTube show hosted by ex-Everton winger Andy van der Meyde, as per the BBC.
“If you don’t score or you’re not important and you don’t win any matches, it’s very difficult, especially for a young player. If that was someone aged 28, with experience, it would be different.”
Koeman said the level of the Premier League is ‘higher’ than in the Netherlands and admitted that Gakpo and fellow Dutchman Ryan Gravenberch have struggled since leaving the Eredivisie for top European clubs.
“The level in England is higher than in the Netherlands. But they are also young boys, aren’t they? Like [Ryan] Gravenberch going to Bayern [Munich] and not playing. Then that is difficult.”
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