Curtis Jones has explained how his nickname for Liverpool teammate Cody Gakpo originated and how it duly ‘stuck’.
The 22-year-old was speaking at length about a variety of topics for the We Are Liverpool podcast, and among the more light-hearted subjects being discussed was the popularity of the Netherlands attacker among the Reds’ first-team squad.
The Toxteth lad explained: “I call him Gakkers, that’s the name that needs to stick with him. Cody just came in and everyone loved him when he came in. He’s the most polite lad, but he’s hilarious.
“There was a time he was going on about my accent, saying Curtis’ accent is strong, and I said ‘Shut up you Gakkers!’ It just stuck.”
It’s clear from Jones’ anecdote that, since joining Liverpool 11 months ago, Gakpo has made an enormous impact behind the scenes, quickly winning the respect of his teammates and being able to indulge in banter with many of them.
Footballers will ultimately be judged by how they perform on the pitch on matchdays, but it’s also crucial that they integrate well with the other members of the team, and those with infectious personalities can be a huge help in fostering an all-important camaraderie away from the field.
One of Jurgen Klopp’s biggest strengths during his eight-and-a-bit years in charge of the Reds has been to sign players who are the right fit for his squad and swiftly jettison anyone whose attitude threatens to derail bonhomie within the camp. Just ask Mamadou Sakho about it.
It’s great to hear of Gakpo bonding so well with the other Liverpool players so soon after coming to Anfield, and long may that cohesion continue to manifest itself both on and off the pitch!