De Jong praises Gakpo after the Netherlands striker's goal v Ecuador

‘He’s a real talent’: Nigel De Jong heaps praise on Manchester United target Cody Gakpo after the Netherlands striker’s THUNDEROUS finish gave them an early lead against Ecuador

  • The Netherlands were held to a 1-1 draw in their World Cup clash with Ecuador
  • Cody Gakpo opened the scoring with a ferocious shot from the edge of the box
  • Nigel De Jong described the 23-year-old striker as a ‘real talent’ after the goal 
  • Follow Sportsmail’s live blog for all the latest World Cup news and updates
  • Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results

Cody Gakpo has been widely praised after hammering in the opening goal of the Netherlands World Cup clash against Ecuador. 

The 23-year-old took the ball on the edge of the box in the sixth minute, shifted it on to his left foot and fired a ferocious shot past Hernan Galindez in the Ecuador goal.

It continues an excellent run of form for Gakpo, who has scored nine goals in 14 league games for PSV this season.

Cody Gakpo opened the scoring in the Netherlands 1-1 draw with Ecuador on Friday

Nigel De Jong praised the young winger as a ‘real talent’ after the early goal

Nigel De Jong felt the forward is becoming a key player for the Dutch. Speaking to ITV at half time, he said of the goal: ‘He’s a real talent, it’s great pass from Ake, but it was a great strike. It was also with his left-foot, his weaker foot. 

‘This is what we like to see from Dutch football, breaking lines and also a striker coming off. It was self-inflicted from Ecuador, but of course it was a difficult angle.’

He added that Gakpo will need to step up for the Netherlands in the absence of other more experienced stars, saying: ‘This is the guy in form now for the Dutch team, especially with Memphis Depay not fully fit yet.’

‘We need creativity from other players and we need others to step up to the occasion. Gakpo has done that in two games.’

The young winger has also been lauded by former West Ham striker Dean Ashton as a player ‘everyone will be watching’.

Gakpo impressed by ‘taking charge of the situation’, said former West Ham star Dean Ashton

In quotes carried by TalkSPORT, he described Gakpo as: ‘A young player at the top of his game, brimming with his confidence after his goal against Senegal… it was past the goalkeeper before he could even imagine to save it. 

‘It was a fantastic strike, he totally took charge of that situation.

‘What a star this young man is going to be. He is just one of those rising stars that every club will be looking at.’

Enner Valencia equalised for Ecuador to leave them joint top of Group A with the Netherlands

Gakpo has previously been linked with a move to Manchester United and will be on the radar or numerous clubs after his showing on Friday.

Ecuador equalised through Enner Valencia after half time, meaning the Netherlands were ultimately held to a 1-1 draw.

The result leaves the two sides tied on four points at the top of group A, with qualification likely to be decided by Ecuador’s clash with Senegal on Tuesday. 

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