Born and raised in Eindhoven, Cody Gakpo is excelling for PSV and is one of the Netherlands most exciting young attackers.

  • By Michael Bell
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Arjen Robben, Dries Mertens, Memphis Depay, and Steven Bergwijn have all dazzled on the left-wing at the Philips Stadion over the year and now it is the turn of Cody Gakpo. The 21-year-old is the latest in a long list of young talents to make a name for themselves at PSV Eindhoven, but Gakpo is even more special for the club, considering he is born and raised in the city.

Eindhoven may be a famous football hub in the Netherlands because of PSV, but Phillip Cocu was the last homegrown hero to play regularly for the club. Now, Eindhovenaar’s finally have another local star to cheer on in Gakpo, who joined the club’s academy at the age of six and has been growing from strength to strength since making his debut in 2018 under Cocu.

Gakpo initially had to be patient but since last season, he has been one of the first names on the teamsheet and his influence has grown even greater after Bergwijn departed for Tottenham Hotspur last January.

Gakpo may not be as tricky on the ball as Memphis or Bergwijn but he is powerful, more direct, and has an excellent goal return this season with his powerful right foot. From the four shots on target in the Eredivisie, he has scored three goals, while he is one from one in the Europa League. In all competitions, he has seven goals in eleven games, while also producing two assists. Those seven goals have come from eight shots on target.

Gakpo also offers Schmidt versatility, with the youngster lining up in several different positions throughout this season already in the German’s preferred 4-2-2-2 formation. Gakpo’s awareness and vision make him a good option as a ten, while he has the pace, strength, and finish of a striker.

His influence on the PSV side this season can also not be underestimated with the club’s three losses coming in games that Gakpo missed due to coronavirus. PSV have won nine and drawn two of the 11 games that Gakpo has played.

Netherlands boss Frank de Boer recently stated that Gakpo, who has four goals in nine games for Jong Oranje, is one of the young players on his radar for Euro 2020. Former Ajax and PSV manager Aad de Mos is also certain that Gakpo is a future Netherlands star, telling ED, “He is also becoming an international for me. He should be selected for the European Championship, I am convinced of that.”

Kenneth Perez, now an analyst on Fox Sports, believes Gakpo is also now a better player than his predecessor on the PSV wing, Steven Bergwijn, “I have been a big fan of Gakpo for some time. He was always a bit in the shadow of Bergwijn at PSV. But actually, I have always found Gakpo better. He is much more goal-oriented and scores a lot more goals. From his last eight shots, he has scored seven goals. Then you are goal-oriented. He has physical, speed, and overview. And is technically skilled. I think he is a super interesting player. “

This week, Gakpo signed a new five-year deal with PSV and is fully focussed on adding to his one Eredivisie title, “I notice that I am becoming increasingly important to PSV. That makes me proud. This is my club and I am happy with the opportunities I have here. I feel confident and I want to pay it back on the field. My goal is clear: I want to become even better and win prizes with PSV.”

PSV Eindhoven has an exciting attack centered around Gakpo and other young stars Donyell Malen, Noni Madueke, and Mohamed Ihattaren. At the moment, Gakpo is the star and it won’t be long before his name is being linked with Europe’s biggest clubs.

After Cocu, another Eindhovenaar is heading for stardom via PSV.

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