After announcing himself to the world two years ago at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Memphis Depay became undoubtedly the hottest prospect in world football. His scintillating and sumptuous displays for the Netherlands attracted the enchanted eyes of all the top clubs in Europe as the Dutch wonderboy had the world at his feet. With the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, PSG, and Juventus all interested in his services the PSV Eindhoven graduate decided to stay at the Philips Stadion to continue his development.
A season after which he scored 25 goals in all competitions, the then 21-year-old completed what he described as a ‘dream move’ to English giants Manchester United. His big money move to the Red Devils was seen as a huge coup. However, the honeymoon was short-lived. A miserable and largely inconsistent season under Louis van Gaal saw the Dutch star being scrutinised, criticised, and torn apart by the British media along with supporters on social media. The Dutch starlet was also placed under the microscope by his former assistant manager Ryan Giggs over his opulent lifestyle despite his struggles on the pitch.
A new season under new boss Jose Mourinho has seen Memphis’ situation at the club get probably even worse. With just a single start under his belt in the League Cup, the flying Dutch winger has seen his stock fall to an all-time low. The arrogant, flambuoyant and overly confident personality seems to have evaporated from his existence, seemingly undressed of all his undoubted ability and quality when at his best and in full flow. There may be a ray of hope for Mourinho and the Red Devils should this gifted 5ft 10in forward get his confidence going again. That will only be discovered with minutes on the pitch along with the love, support, and confidence from the manager.
Ideal Premier League winger
Despite his struggles to kick-start his career at Old Trafford, Memphis is still seen as an ideal wide player for the Premiership. His direct running style complemented by his pace and power, the 22-year-old has all the necessities to succeed in England. His desire and determination are qualities that have been said by former coaches to be his true assets and will need to conjure up those aspects of his being to turn things around at Old Trafford. His incredible physique as well as his athleticism are quite impressive and could use those attributes to devastating effect should he rediscover his top form.
A serious threat on goal
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney, and Marcus Rashford all short of goals in recent weeks, Mourinho could find a viable option in Memphis as his ‘surprise around the corner.’ Throughout his relatively short career thus far, goals have been a significant feature of his game. The Dutch forward has a natural appetite for goals and is quite capable of hitting the back of the net from most places in the final third. Operating off the left, he uses his pace as well as trickery to get past his markers before cutting inside on his fancied right foot where he unleashes ferocious shots on goal. With his pure physical strength and his developing technical expertise Memphis could definitely prove chaotic for defences in England.
Desperate need for minutes
For any football player, especially younger players, it is highly critical to get minutes on the pitch and mileage in the legs in order to progress. Getting enough minutes is essential for younger players to work on their craft game-by-game, develop their game week-by-week, and most importantly establish a rhythm in the way they play. Confidence and feeling good about one’s self plays a huge role for the way youngsters conduct themselves on the pitch. At this moment in time, Memphis is lacking in all departments. His demeanor shows a lack of confidence as well as a player who’s trying desperately to find some sort of form.
In the coming weeks, the likes of Memphis and Henrikh Mkhitaryan could see quite a few minutes on the pitch with Jesse Lingard, Martial, and Rashford not exactly setting the world on fire. A vote of confidence from the manager and a couple of good performances could spark some sort of resurgence from the Dutch winger. For him to be at his best he needs confidence so that he can be arrogant in the way he plays and just be himself. At the moment a loan move in January could be on the cards but if Mourinho manages him well and offers the love and support he needs then he could very well prove to be a hit for Manchester United this season.