Copy of 2022-11-25T165846Z_1447331409_UP1EIBP1B5WAA_RTRMADP_3_SOCCER-WORLDCUP-NLD-ECU-REPORT-1669621860691
Netherlands' striker Cody Gakpo. Image Credit: REUTERS

Doha: Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo has emerged as one of the standout strikers of the World Cup and said he was flattered with the speculation linking him with a move to the Premier League but needs to focus on the tournament in Qatar first.

Gakpo has scored in both of the Netherlands’ opening games in Qatar, his left footed strike against Ecuador on Friday one of the goals of the tournament.

“My focus is on the World Cup but it is always nice to hear stories like that,” Gakpo told a news conference on Sunday when questioned about reports of a possible move from PSV Eindhoven.

He had been the subject of transfer speculation before the season as well but proposed deals did not emerge and he has since helped his club into the knockout stages of the Europa League.

“I’m trying not to think much about that. I try to do my best ... to help the team” he said.

“The coach (Louis van Gaal) is very demanding. He always tries to trigger me, to become a better player. I am very grateful for that. I am not surprised about my performance. I know what I am capable of.

“At the moment I am a PSV player and the focus is on the national team. We’ll see what will happen. In football it can go crazy, but as it is now, I will still play at PSV after the World Cup”, Gakpo added.

After their disappointing 1-1 draw with Ecuador, the Dutch would not be underestimating already-eliminated hosts Qatar in their last group game on Tuesday, team mate Daley Blind said.

Better results

“There were plenty of things that could be done better. It wasn’t our best game. We have to do a lot better to achieve better results”, he said.

But Blind said a lot of fancied teams were struggling at the World Cup.

“There have been some interesting results. I think a lot of teams are closing the gap,” Blind added.

“Perhaps it also has to do with the fact that the preparation was shorter than usual. Usually you have more time to prepare.

“But we are not looking for excuses, we have been critical of ourselves and now focused on the next game against Qatar. We’ll have to be much better.”