It would be wrong to write off a player at 22 years of age, but such is the short proving time for the professionals who are at the very top of the game. Memphis Depay is the player in question, as his Manchester United career looks in tatters already. After being coming on as a substitute at the hour mark in the Europa League group opener against Feyenoord, Depay has a long way before he forces back into Jose Mourinho’s plans. Incredibly, rumours have already begun about a swift departure back to Holland with his former club PSV Eindhoven one of the interested parties.
Depay had one great opportunity to get back into the United reckoning, as it was certain from a few days ago that José Mourinho was going to make substantial changes to the Europa League team against Feyenoord. Coming on the back of a defeat in the Manchester derby, Mourinho was given an opportunity to look at the players who had rarely featured so far.
The Portuguese manager has always been reluctant to rotate and this means less first-team opportunities for those on the sidelines. It means even fewer opportunities for names like Depay, who has slipped into the fringes of first-team last year itself.
Signed by Louis van Gaal for a hefty transfer fee of £25 million, Depay has had tough conditions from the word go. The huge transfer fee on his shoulders coupled with United trying to bring back their glory days under a new regime were all affecting the club. After starting out quite regularly during the early part of last season, Depay’s game time has consistently reduced. Towards the end of last season, Depay was not even in the United’s 18-man squad.
A return of seven goals in 45 appearances sounds reasonable for having a winger, but it is a huge drop from his return of 28 goals in 40 games for PSV a season earlier. Still, these are good statistics for a young player at a huge club like United by playing in a new league. The intense competition for places, though, is forcing Depay to a long way away from the first-team squad.
His stats against Feyenoord – no shots on target, no successful dribbles, just 1 successful cross – suggest that he is at the end of his time with United. However, he was not the only player to struggle on the night as even Paul Pogba was disappointing. Depay is only 22 and United should not eliminate their faith in the highly talented youngster.