Gary Neville reveals what Manchester United legend told him about Netherlands star ahead of Euro 2024 clash with England

Cody Gakpo leads the Euro 2024 Golden Boot race (Photo: Getty)

England need to be aware of Cody Gakpo, with the Netherlands star looking ‘really sharp’ ahead of their Euro 2024 semi-final clash.

That is the opinion of Gary Neville after the Three Lions and the Orange Army advanced to the semis on Saturday after beating Switzerland and Turkey respectively.

After drawing 1-1, England defeated the Swiss on penalties, while the Netherlands came from behind to win 2-1 and reach the last four at a major tournament for the first time since 2014.

The Dutch’s efforts have been spearheaded by Gakpo, with the Liverpool forward on course to win the Euros Golden Boot.

The 25-year-old has scored three times so far, as have Georgia’s Georges Mikautadze, Germany’s Jamal Musiala and Slovakia’s Ivan Schranz, but crucially he is the only one of the quartet still in the tournament.

It’s a little surprising after he endured a somewhat underwhelming season where he struggled to adapt to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics, though still recorded 16 goals and six assists in 53 games.

But he’s always thrived for his national team, with a Manchester United legend suggesting there’s a very simple reason why.

Gakpo has struggled to fit in at Liverpool (Photo: Getty)

‘He looks really sharp, Gakpo. There were times at Liverpool when you wondered… you know he played deep, sometimes central,’ former United and England defender Gary Neville said on ITV.

‘But I went to see Ruud van Nistelrooy maybe 18 months ago now, or maybe 12 months, and he said “Gakpo’s definitely a left-sided player, a left-sided forward, that is his best position”.

‘I think he’s proven that in this tournament. That is a good run from the back post [to create the winning goal against Turkey].’

United and Dutch legend Van Nistelrooy worked closely with Gakpo at PSV where he managed 105 goal contributions in 159 appearances, which prompted Liverpool to spend £35.5million on him in January 2023.

Over the past 18 months, Gakpo has been deployed by Klopp all over the front-line and in midfield but mostly as a centre-forward, and it will be interesting to see what new Reds boss Arne Slot will do with him.

The Dutch star will be up against defenders he knows well from the Premier League when he plays England on Wednesday night in Dortmund, a task he is relishing.

‘I think everybody knows England has a very good team with very good players. We have that as well, so hopefully it’s going to be a good game,’ he said.

Asked about the Three Lions’ underwhelming performances in Germany, he responded: ‘But they win. They win. So, yeah, that’s a good sign. Like us.

‘[Winning] is all that matters, at the end, yes. It’s the most important to win. You can play very good football, but if you don’t win, you’re out.’

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