Man United’s Memphis Depay Sizzles But Will He Be Good Or Great?


It’s hasn’t been the greatest of weeks for Manchester United.

The Old Trafford club have watched on as three priority transfer targets have all decided to pledge their futures elsewhere. Last seasons Man United number one David de Gea seems desperate to leave and join Real Madrid. While club captain Wayne Rooney is once again struggling to find the back of the net and no great competition for the centre-forwards role.

This week the Manchester giants returned to the grandest European stage as they took on Club Brugge in the final qualifying round for the UEFA Champions League.

On the eighth minute the Belgian side took a shock lead with Michael Carrick deflecting a free-kick into his own net.

But it’s far from being all doom and gloom around Old Trafford this summer.

The Red Devils sit joint top of the English Premier League after two wins from their opening two games. They look a lot stronger in the middle of the park with both Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger joining the club. Their defence also looks to be in a better place, only conceding once in their three fixtures this season.

They finished that Champions League clash the victors after they scored three unanswered goals.

But the main reason for optimism seems to be coming from United’s new number seven… Memphis Depay.

After two decent games in the Premier League, Depay came into his own in the win over the Belgian league runners up.

Five minutes after ‘Blauw-Zwart’ took the lead at Old Trafford, Memphis took a Carrick pass on his chest and used his head to get the ball into the box. The Dutchman then skipped beyond a few Brugge defenders as if they were just cones on a training ground before he smashed the ball low beyond the goalkeeper.

Not a bad way to open your account for Manchester United.

Then just before half-time, Memphis Depay scored an equally classy second goal and gave his side the lead. This time he received the ball on the edge of the area, cut onto his right-foot and curled the ball expertly past the helpless Club Brugge keeper.

Just after the hour mark the Dutch forward fluffed his best chance of a hattrick. He was played in by Rooney but couldn’t keep his shot down and his opportunity of a dream Champions League bow at Old Trafford was dashed.

But that miss didn’t seem to play on his mind. He still excited the crowd with his runs and never hid from receiving the ball.

Deep into injury time and Memphis was still a threat and conjuring up some magic. This time he played in a delightful cross from the left flank and his pin-point pass was headed home by Marouane Fellaini.

Memphis Depay’s debut European performance had Man United fans everywhere crowing about a new hero in their midst.

A new number seven worthy of the shirt worn by the likes of George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo!

Depay has that confident streak that most talented Dutch stars possess. He wanted the number seven jersey and relishes the chance to shine in it. He seems determined in becoming an icon for the Red Devil’s support.

Last season at PSV, the twenty-one year old international bagged twenty-two goals in thirty league appearances. United will hope that he can build on his sensational performance against Club Brugge and help take a load off Rooney’s shoulders by scoring his fair share of goals.

Those points were echoed by a chuffed Man Utd manager Louis van Gaal:

“I want to kiss him tonight. I’m very happy for him because a player needs that.”

“Hopefully he shall continue to score. I have confidence in him. He showed what he can do tonight. He scored two goals and got the assist for the other.”

The Champions League masterclass from Memphis Depay reminded me of two other Man United stars, one past and one present.

His dynamic play and sheer raw ability is very reminiscent of a young Cristiano Ronaldo, dare I say that Memphis looks to be more polished at this age? His ability to galvanise the team from the wing positions is something United have missed since Ronaldo departed for Real Madrid in 2009.

Depay’s Champions League bow for Man Utd also reminded me of his current captain’s European debut. Rooney would go one better and grab a hat trick, as well as an assist, as United thrashed Fenerbahce 6-2 in Manchester. Like Memphis’ work on Tuesday night, Wayne’s performance that day gave many a Man United fan goosebumps.

It’s obviously thrilling for any young player to have comparison made about them with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and/or Wayne Rooney. But Memphis will need to keep to that exacting standard or even better it, if he’s truly worthy of those glowing comparisons.

I suppose a big question that will need to be answered in a few years time will be this:

Will Memphis Depay become a world beater like Ronaldo? Or will he be an extremely good Premier League star who can do some decent things in Europe like Rooney? 

It’s going to be exciting to see just how far Depay’s extraordinary talents can take him!

Leave a Reply