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Memphis looking to impress Jose Mourinho and win back his place

Manchester United winger Memphis Depay, a £31 million signing by former manager Louis van Gaal last summer, who has so far not managed to reach the dizzy heights from the previous season where he won the Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven also becoming the league’s top scorer that season. The Premier League is a much tougher league that the Eredivisie and much like Daley Blind when he arrived at the Old Trafford club the summer before, Memphis would need time to settle and adapt, before we saw the best of him. During the last season, Memphis had made 45 appearances in all competitions, scoring seven goals – two of those being scored in the Premier League against Sunderland and Watford, two being scored in the Europa League against Midtjylland and three being scored in the Champions League – two in the play-off against Club Bruges and one in the group stage against his former club. To say his season had not been a success would be an understatement as at times it did not look like he wanted to be on the pitch – which will be something that resulted in him being dropped from the squad for the Emirates FA Cup final victory over Crystal Palace a few weeks ago.

Memphis has struggled for find his confidence at United since he arrived, looking good in a few matches, especially against Club Bruges in the play-off stage of the Champions League, which United played in back in August 2015. Memphis also scored against his former club, a 2-1 defeat in the group stages of the Champions League, the same match where United lost Luke Shaw to a double fracture of his leg, a player that Memphis played well with, which could have unsettled him even more. Memphis effectively replaced Angel Di Maria at the start of the season, with the Argentinian signing for Paris Saint-Germain after failing to relight the world at United, opting to play in a less competitive league, one which he has shone in. Memphis is determined to bounce back from his poor debut season at the Theatre of Dreams, under the management of Jose Mourinho, aiming to show the club’s supporters that he belongs at the Old Trafford club and more importantly is good enough to wear the famous number seven shirt. Speaking to Fox Sports and reported by Sky Sports, Memphis said:

“It’s never nice to be criticised, but it is part of the game and I have to deal with it.

“The season did not go as planned and that hurt my confidence a bit. It’s now up to me to deal with this situation and get back on track.

“I think every attacker is intuitive. You have to make decisions on when to go for an individual action. The old Memphis, who beat every opponent, will soon be back again.

“I did not play as many games as I hoped and I am obviously disappointed about that. I had different expectations. But I have to deal with that.

“It’s now on to next season. I have to prove my worth during pre-season.”

Memphis will now be able to have a break this summer, with the Netherlands not qualifying for the European Championships held in France, which start in just over a weeks time. He will most likely feature for United during their pre-season tour of China, in which they face Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City. The Dutchman wants to show the club’s supporters, his team-mates, and the new manager that he can succeed at the club, fighting for his place and giving the performances which will keep him at the club. When Memphis signed for United last summer, he spoke about Van Gaal, saying:

“He is a great manager. He can make players better.”

That may come back to haunt him, as in his case, that has not happened during the past season. Memphis is a great talent, one which fits the attacking nature of the club, but also one which has not given the club or the supporters, or even his team-mates anything to suggest he was a quality signing a year ago. Memphis and Van Gaal had been tipped as a pair who had a history, with Memphis looking at his former manager as a father figure. That seems to have gone sour though with the player and manager not fulfilling their expectations at the club with United playing boring and safe football, not getting the results they needed and more importantly no entertaining the supporters. Entertainment is something that all supporters need to see. If United lose a match and it was entertaining, the discontent from the defeat may not be as bad as if the club would have lost in a boring manner, which seems to have been the case for much of last season. Memphis though, does not blame the manager for his failings, saying:

“I do not want to blame the manager for it. I played some good games and some bad matches. I do not want to blame anyone for it.

“I have not been in touch with Van Gaal yet. I might give him a call or send him a text.”

During the past season in the Premier League, Memphis had a shot accuracy of 44%, which was not great considering the player he was the previous season in the Eredivisie, where he had a shot accuracy of 47%. In the Premier League last season, Memphis averaged a total of 12 chances created in the 29 appearances he made, whereas in the Eredivisie, he averaged 60 chances created in the 30 appearances he made. His passing accuracy improved in the Premier League, averaging 81%, as opposed to the 75% achieved in the Eredivisie the season before. Looking at his stats, Memphis has been quite consistent in relation to the fact he has jumped up to a more competitive league. Finding that magic he needs to get into the form he showed at PSV Eindhoven might take a little while, but with a new manager to impress and a season to forget behind him, if should give him the determination to prove his doubters wrong. Many United supporters have called Memphis a fraud after his performances this season – a bit harsh to be commenting like that about a player who has quite clearly found it hard at United. Next season, should he be around could bring the best of the player, with those doubters backtracking and deleting their comments on social media. I believe Memphis will adapt and become a player United supporters will be proud of. His ability does not just disappear completely. Form is temporary, class is permanent and all that.

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