Before we turn our attention to Cody Gakpo, here is a quick update on the Dutch camp. Louis van Gaal and Stefan de Vrij had their presser earlier and Louis did give us some insights into his thinking for the Montenegro match and he performed a typical Van Gaal Act when De Vrij was asked about the coach.
But first the team news: even though De Ligt is fit and allowed to play, De Vrij will keep his spot and Mathijs will start on the bench. “De Vrij played great in that position and I can share that he’ll start. As I don’t see De Ligt as an option for the left side, he will start as a sub.”
Van Gaal also had some clarity on Berghuis’ substitution and the disappointing Memphis. “Berghuis was not as effective as he can be. But he is still the best right winger we have, whether in the Eredivisie or outside. But he needs a wingback who overlaps him and Timber is used to playing the Ajax way: on the inside. Everytime there was an option for them to create, Timber would come into the half space and block Berghuis. I couldn’t sub Timber as I felt Dumfries wasn’t ready, so I decided to sub Steven. But Berghuis didn’t do too bad: he did create our goal, so he’ll get another chance, this time with Dumfries behind him.”
About Memphis: “He is our go to man up front for solutions. But the things is, he will always have 2 or 3 defenders on his toes, so the forward pass to him needs to be played fast and early. And we lacked the courage to do it. So everytime we found Depay, it was too late. He was suffocated. I have worked with Memphis before and the Memphis of today is miles better. He is stronger, smarter, quicker and has that swagger that top players like him (and C Ronaldo, Haaland, Lewandowski, Lukaku) have. We need to help him better.”
When De Vrij was asked if Van Gaal was now a bit friendlier and “softer” compared to 2014, De Vrij answered that back in 2014, Van Gaal was also friendly and open to suggestions. “He will always listen to you, and when you have good arguments, he’ll go with that.” This resulted in somewhat embarrassing response from coach Louis van Gaal. See here:
I believe this will be the Dutch line up for the Montenegro game. I predict a 3-0 win, with Berghuis, Memphis and Wijnaldum on the score sheet.
Apologies for the spellcheck error (Frankie – Frenkie)
Mo Ihattaren was touted as the new big thing in Dutch football. That PSV had more talents in the wings, like Cody Gakpo and Madueke, seemed less important. But after two years of hype, Mo left PSV through the backdoor, while Cody Gakpo and right winger Madueke are the two figureheads of this new and exciting PSV.
Gakpo is keen to become a firm fixture for Oranje as well: “I want to be a starter for the National Team!”
A talk with the lanky right-footed left winger.
About his inspirations:
“Diego Maradona was my idol. I watched all his movies on Youtube all the time. And Thierry Henry. He was a left winger like me, tall. Usually, wingers are smaller. Overmars, Robben, Messi so I really resonated with the taller players. I watched and analysed him, his movements, his timing, I tried to learn as much as possible. I have always been a PSV fan. I had a PSV doona on my bed, PSV pj’s and posters on my walls. I also had a team photo of Barcelona. I was a fan of Ibbi Afellay and recently I got to play with him, which was amazing. We still speak.”
Mo & Co
About scoring goals:
“I am a forward so I love scoring goals. It started in the E pupils. We would win the trophy with a couple of 100 goals. I made 100 goals myself. We won matches 20-0 and if you’d score 5 or 8 it would really add up, hahahaha.”
“I started at PSV when I was six and ex pro Twan Scheepers was my coach for a spell. He’s now a good friend, he helped me a lot with my football, with also with the mental side of things. Some people think that talent is everything but that is not true. When I got into my puberty, all sorts of issues started. At home, at school and a lot of talented players drop out. I used to think I wasn’t good enough, in those days. I wasn’t the typical star of the team or something. And Twan would help me with my confidence and self belief.”
“Mark van Bommel became my coach when was 15 years old, at the A1 level. Fairly quickly I made the step up to the first team and worked with him there as well. He’s very good tactically. I still have a strong bond with him.
Ruud van Nistelrooy was my striking coach from when I was 14 year old. He taught me a lot. With Boudewijn Zenden I am working on my weaker left foot. It’s a challenge in all honesty but it ‘s going better.
About his genes:
“My dad is from Togo. My parents met there as my mum was traveling through Africa. My dad first moved to France but after that he came to Holland. My dad was a good player. He played for the Togo national team and played in the PSV 2 team. My mum was Dutch rugby international, so we always have sports in our home, in some way. I have never seen them play, although I did see some newspaper articles on my mum, as women’s rugby was never televised, I don’t think. My dad doesn’t think we are alike, as players. He thinks he was 10 times better than me, hahaha. But I think I am a bit like him. I do remember that an old coach of my dad came watching me when I was in the A1. He did say afterwards that he felt my dad was better at that age. That motivated me to work harder. I really owe it all to my parents. They were always supportive and brought me to the club and came and watch me play. My mum always simply asked if I enjoyed the game. My dad always wanted to do a whole de-briefing. My dad always told me to believe in myself.”
About his body
“I had shoe size 46 when I was 16 years old and only 1 meter 60 tall. The ratios didn’t work and I was super clumsy. But it all went well. I had a calf injury when I was 17 and broke my ankle. I had a tear last season in my ankle too, which kept me out for 3 months. But I am cautious and aware of my body. I eat well, I take my rest and drink a lot of water. At the Euros, I saw how professional some of the older lads were and that was very inspiring. I also do a lot of weight and resistance training, I do need to be a bit stronger, but overall I’m happy with my body.”
“I’m raised a Christian and I am really into it. I try to simply be the best person I can be. I do dedicated time to my faith, I read a lot of books, I visit church whenever I can and I pray. I read the Bible daily, yes, I am devout man. I recently got a book from Denzel Dumfries “Praying is believing” which I am reading now. Other lads at PSV share my faith, like Madueke and Donny Malen. With Oranje, Memphis is a good sounding board, how we understand pieces from the Bible and sayings and that sorta thing. We share those insights. It creates a bond and is inspiring. I also love to talk to people from other faiths, like Mo Ihattaren, who is muslim. We do see a lot of similarities.”
About the Dutch National Team
“Once I was in the flow of the Euros, it felt normal. I never really felt that is was special or remarkable you know. I was never part of the squad before but the other lads really include you into things and it all goes so fast too. When I went on a holiday, later, it all sank in. We have a really tight group and I immediately felt at home. The spirit is great. That last match versus the Czechs… It was a tough day. It was hot, and humid but I don’t think we got into trouble, really, until the red card. I tried to stay close to Memphis and Malen. Both players coming from the left, both a PSV history… What I try to improve is to pick the right moment to make a particular move. I met Louis van Gaal last year for the first time, when we drew Ajax 1-1. I saw him at the parking lot and he said: Nice pass! I had given the assist for the PSV goal. “Keep on going like this,” he said.” Now I tasted it, I want to be part of the Dutch national team as a starter and kick some goals.”
About his dreams
“I want to win trophies. This season, the title with PSV. The double, really. And maybe a European prize? I want to score goals and create goals. I hope to be able to make a move soon. I would love to play in England or Spain once day. I have been playing for PSV for many years and I’d love to lave through the front door with a trophy or two. And then go to the World Cup in Qatar and do wonderful things with Oranje.”