EPL

Sneijder backs Gakpo to eventually thrive at Liverpool

By Sports Desk February 01, 2023

Cody Gakpo will come good for Liverpool once he has had time to adapt to the Premier League, according to Wesley Sneijder.

The 23-year-old forward has made five appearances for Jurgen Klopp's men since his January move from PSV without registering a goal or assist, as the Reds have faltered in the league and been eliminated from the FA Cup.

Gakpo recorded nine goals and 12 assists in 14 Eredivisie games this season before moving to Anfield, but has so far been unable to replicate that form in England.

Speaking to Stats Perform, former Netherlands international Sneijder expressed his belief that Gakpo is a "great player" who can help his new team recover their season.

"Of course I'm confident [he can improve at Liverpool]. It's always difficult to change clubs during the season," he said. "You don't get the time to adapt.

"Normally when you start with a new club in the pre-season, you have a longer period to adapt to the system, to adapt to the country, to adapt to everything, and to English football as well.

"Now he arrived and he has to play directly so it's difficult, and we should give him some more time because he's a great player with a lot of progression."

Former Ajax midfielder Sneijder also reserved praise for the job Erik ten Hag has done in his first season as Manchester United head coach after leaving the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

"He started the way that he also started in Holland," he said. "Maybe in the beginning [it was] a little bit difficult for people to understand.

"But he's really clear in his decisions and that's what he has shown with Cristiano [Ronaldo], of course, and with more decisions that he's taken.

"He's really clear, he has his own vision. Now you see that they're doing very well. [Marcus] Rashford is in the best [period] of his life. This is what Ten Hag wants, and that's his quality to take the team and let them play the way he wants.

"Also, he knows how to manage it. He knows how to manage the team by making these decisions.

"So he made the statement in the beginning, and, of course, in the beginning, it was a little bit difficult and different from the rest of the coaches but he did a great job. I hope the best for him and that he will bring United back to the top."

Sneijder also spent two years playing for Real Madrid between 2007 and 2009, and has been impressed by the impact of another for Los Blancos midfielder in the Premier League, with Martin Odegaard playing a key part in Arsenal's title charge this season despite struggling to establish himself at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Yeah, of course [I'm pleased to see how he's doing], because I always believed in his qualities," Sneijder added. "And, of course, Madrid is a difficult club because you don't get that much time there.

"You see now at Arsenal, they really want to build the team and it's going very well so far.

"Also in England, as a midfielder, you have some more space to control the ball and turn in your position than you get in Spain. So you can see that the Premier League really suits him. He's an excellent player and he's showing his qualities every week."

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