If we’re being honest, no Manchester United players played well in their first tour game out in Shanghai but many fans were quick to send Memphis Depay abuse over social media in regards to his lack of explosive pace. When he first burst onto the scene for PSV Eindhoven, his ‘x-factor’ was his ability to beat his defender with trickery and blistering pace from almost a standing start. However during this pre-season especially it appears that the young Dutch international has put on a few pounds and bulked up, this for most players wouldn’t be an issue but considering his already large physique, it appears to have slowed him down dramatically. In his defence, it was over 37 degrees celsius in Shanghai, the first game on tour and he was playing as a lone striker when his clearly favoured position is on the left-wing but he really did struggle to make a mark on the game.
The Daily Star report this story and make pretty harsh comments regarding the 22-year-old winger saying:
“The 22-year-old was one of the biggest flops of last season after making a £25m move from PSV.
“And Red Devils fans don’t hold out too much hope of him coming good anytime soon.
“Fans of the Old Trafford side have taken to Twitter to criticise his physique, claiming he’s too bulky and has lost his speed.”
The article then goes on to show 18 different tweets from Manchester United fans all with the general conclusion that Memphis has indeed bulked up too much over the off-season with comments such as “what’s happened to Memphis’ pace??” and “all that muscle has made him lose pace”.
There is no doubt Memphis is bigger than he was last year and looked a tad slower but I would suggest that he needs more pre-season games to get match fit and then back in the cooler Manchester temperatures, he’ll show how quick he really is. Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, and Memphis all looked quite sluggish during the game and their performances weren’t up to scratch but to completely write Memphis off would be a very big mistake. Scoring the goals he did at times last year and at PSV, the way he beat players, it wasn’t a fluke. He has all the class required to be a top, top player but really needs to get settled and get match fit, not just fit in the gym.