Louis van Gaal reacts to Memphis Depay over Cody Gakpo request
Louis van Gaal hits back at Memphis Depay over Cody Gakpo’s request.
Louis van Gaal has questioned Memphis Depay’s decision to make public his preferred attack partner for the Netherlands national team.
Cody Gakpo has flourished without Depay, scoring three goals in back-to-back games to establish himself as one of the World Cup’s top players so far.
Despite Gakpo’s performances, Depay argues that in the competition’s latter stages, he would rather be paired with Steven Bergwijn.
‘I have a great click with him (Gakpo) but I think I prefer to play with Steven Bergwijn,’ Depay said earlier this week.
‘He is even more ball-resistant and then Cody can get the ball behind him. But we have many different players with qualities.’
Depay, who netted 12 goals in qualifying for the Dutch, is unlikely to be granted his request, however, with Van Gaal shutting down any notion of him dropping Gakpo at his pre-match press conference.
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‘These things happen, that players ventilate their views, but whether it’s sensible or not, that’s another issue. Everybody has their own opinion, particularly in the Netherlands,’ the 71-year-old said.
Van Gaal described Saturday’s opponents as very strong, while reporters from neighbouring Belgium made overtures for the combative coach to take over their national team after Roberto Martinez stepped down following Belgium’s exit on Thursday.
‘I don’t think so but you’ve got to keep your options open,’ Van Gaal joked, before getting back to the business in hand.
‘The USA has demonstrated that it has an excellent team, I would even say one of the best teams, a team that is fine-tuned (but) it’s nothing we can’t overcome,’ Van Gaal added ahead of the game at the Khalifa International Stadium.
‘The USA that is a very energetic squad, they have physically strong players and that is tough for any opponent, and you can tell from their results, but we will do everything we can to win and to beat USA, that’s it.’