Koeman: Gakpo made Liverpool move too early
Cody Gakpo's decision to move to Liverpool at such a young age has not served him well, suggests his national team head coach Ronald Koeman.
After an impressive World Cup that saw him score three goals in five games in helping the Netherlands to the quarter-finals, Gakpo joined Liverpool from PSV in January for a reported fee of around £40million (€45m).
However, the 23-year-old forward, who also contributed to 21 goals in 14 Eredivisie matches this season, has endured a tough start to life in England.
He has failed to find the net in his first six games as Liverpool have won just one of their seven matches in all competitions since the turn of the year.
Koeman, in his second spell as head coach of the Netherlands after taking over from Louis van Gaal, is concerned Gakpo's move to an underperforming team at just 23 years old is hampering his development.
Koeman told a YouTube show hosted by former footballer Andy van der Meyde: "He has ended up in a team that is not doing well.
"If you don't score or you're not important and you don't win any matches, it's very difficult, especially for a young player.
"If that was someone aged 28, with experience, it would be different."
Gakpo is not the only Netherlands star to struggle with a new club, with midfielder Ryan Gravenberch yet to start a Bundesliga match for Bayern Munich since signing from Ajax prior to this season.
Koeman feels the inferiority in quality of the Eredivisie in comparison to the top leagues in Europe is making it difficult for young stars to flourish after taking the leap.
"The level in England is higher than in the Netherlands," Koeman added.
"But they are also young boys, aren't they? Like Gravenberch going to Bayern and not playing. Then that is difficult."