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Man Utd and Arsenal transfer target Cody Gakpo reveals how Ruud van Nistelrooy turned him into a strike sensation

CODY GAKPO is a Grade 1 student when it comes to graduation.

That’s because he has one of the Premier League’s biggest poachers as his teacher PSV in Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Man Utd legend Ruud van Nistelrooy has taught Cody Gakpo the art of finishing

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Man Utd legend Ruud van Nistelrooy has taught Cody Gakpo the art of finishingPhoto credit: Getty
Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool have all been linked with the PSV star

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Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool have all been linked with the PSV starPhoto credit: Getty

The Dutch winger has emerged as one of Europe’s brightest prospects with 17 goals and 15 assists as the club remain in the hunt for their first league title since 2018.

And with exManchester United Star Van Nistelrooy, who teaches him the dark arts, comes as no surprise that Gakpo has developed an eye for goals.

Van Nistelrooy, 45, scored 95 goals in 150 games for the Red Devils but has been learning his craft coaching at his youth club since retiring in 2012.

Gakpo, 22, told SunSport: “Van Nistelrooy was my forward coach in academy.

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“I learned a lot from him and I look up to him. He talked to me about how to cope in certain situations and that helped me a lot.

“He gave me some tricks for shooting and keeping my options open. Shoot low and hard, not nice and high. A goal is a goal, you know. I’m grateful he did it.”

Van Nistelrooy will finally get his chance to become first-team boss next season after signing a three-year deal to replace outgoing manager Roger Schmidt.

But his first task will be to keep his most valuable pupil out of the clutches of Europe’s top clubs.

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Liverpool have sent out scouts to watch the £42million-rated attacker, while United and arsenal are also in the running to sign him this summer.

Gakpo signed a contract extension with the club until 2026 in January but PSV are believed to be ready to sell this summer.

He said: “I try to focus on what I’m doing now and finish the season really well, after that I can focus on something else.

“If I can make the step to a team that plays in the Champions League every season, that’s obviously my dream. But I still have a contract and a new coach is coming – but maybe a club will come that I can’t say no to.

“Maybe they aren’t coming and I have to stay, but for now I just want to keep working on this season.”

Standing at 6ft 2in, Gakpo is a large, strong, and fast attacker who has the ability to dash at defenders.

And with his eye for goal coming from the left wing after reverting to his preferred right foot, he has been compared to Thierry Henry.

The Dutch ace revealed he would like to play in the Premier League after growing up with Henry and the Gunners.

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He added: “The Premier League is a big league. Virgil van Dijk plays there with Liverpool so I love watching them.

“We’re not the same kind of league but I think we’re trying to look at the Prem and learn about it. Everyone wants to play in the prem once. I don’t favor any team, but I like Arsenal a lot.

“When I was younger I looked up to Henry because he was a big guy who played the grand piano.”

PSV is a club with a philosophy of developing players before selling them on. In addition to Van Nistelrooy, the likes of Jaap Stam, Arjen Robben, Ronald Koeman and Brazilian legend Ronaldo made their names in Eindhoven.

Their most recent stars to die are Spurs winger Steven Bergwijn, full-back Denzel Dumfries, who plays for Inter Milan, and Borussia Dortmund striker Donyell Malen.

Gakpo will get a chance to introduce himself to an English crowd tomorrow as PSV take on Leicester in the Europa Conference League quarter-finals.

He said: “They have some really good players.

“We’re going into the first game to win. We can show them how good we are, I personally have to do my best.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/18176230/man-utd-arsenal-transfer-target-gakpo-van-nistelrooy/ Man Utd and Arsenal transfer target Cody Gakpo reveals how Ruud van Nistelrooy turned him into a strike sensation

Ashley

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