Ronald Koeman: Gakpo made Liverpool move too early

Ronald Koeman

Cody Gakpo has struggled since joining Liverpool, and Ronald Koeman fears he may have made the wrong decision to leave PSV so early.

Cody Gakpo’s decision to move to Liverpool at such a young age has not served him well, suggests his national team head coach Ronald Koeman.

After an impressive World Cup in which he scored three goals in five games to help the Netherlands to the quarter-finals, Gakpo joined Liverpool from PSV in January for a reported fee of around £40m (€45m).

However, the 23-year-old forward, who was involved in 21 goals in 14 Eredivisie matches this season, had a tough start to life in England.

He has failed to find the net in his first six games as Liverpool have won just one of their seven games in all competitions since the turn of the year.

Koeman, in his second stint as Netherlands head coach after Louis van Gaal took over, fears Gakpo’s move to an under-performing team at just 23 is stunting his development.

Speaking on a YouTube show hosted by ex-footballer Andy van der Meyde, Koeman said: “He ended up in a team that wasn’t doing well.

“If you don’t score or you’re not important and you don’t win a game, it’s very difficult, especially for a young player.

“If it was someone aged 28 with experience, it would be different.

Gakpo is not the only Dutch star to struggle with his new club, with midfielder Ryan Gravenberch yet to feature in a Bundesliga game for Bayern Munich since signing from Ajax earlier this season.

Koeman feels the quality of the Eredivisie compared to Europe’s top leagues makes it difficult for young stars to make the jump.

“The level in England is higher than in the Netherlands,” Koeman added.

“But they’re also young guys, aren’t they? Like Gravenberch, he goes to Bayern and doesn’t play. Then it’s difficult.”

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