Part of what makes sane football fans hate international breaks besides the dour nature of football are the transfer window rumors which seem to run particularly rife in November with only six weeks to go for the Winter window to open.
For Manchester United, it has been a mixed break where some of their players have caught the eye, while others have had the much needed rest with no serious injuries yet. Paul Pogba’s French side got through their tough qualifying fixture against Sweden thanks to his equalizer while the Netherlands managed to get a win under their belt with the help of Memphis Depay who not only got some vital minutes on the field but also managed to make the decisive contribution by scoring a brace against Luxembourg.
His brace may have come against a lowly Luxembourg who currently sit sixth in their group with three losses in four games, but the manner in which he took both of his goals on the day that deserves credit. The first goal was a well timed header when he converted an inch perfect cross from his Manchester United teammate Daley Blind who played at left-back for the national team. Depay then scored from a trademark free-kick bending the ball into the near post corner giving his national team an important victory in the qualifying group. It should also be noted that Depay did look rusty for most of the game, he mis-controlled the ball a few times, ran into defenders while attempting to dribble too much when he could have made a simple pass and skied a couple of half-chances. All of which could be attributed to the lack of game time he’s been suffering from at Old Trafford. But at the end of the day, he scored twice. That is all that should matter, for now.
Depay scored two goals putting himself in contention and sent a message to Mourinho who is already struggling to find what his best eleven is, in his first three months in charge. Although, this is a great problem to have for any manager given the volume of quality at his disposal, the rumors that linked Depay to Everton intensified on the same day when Everton’s official account mentioned the Dutch midfielder scoring against Luxembourg in one of their tweets which was quite uncalled for. This interestingly happened after their manager Ronald Koeman confessed his desire to sign the 22-year old for Everton (on loan) and a possibly of the loan move in January could be exploited.
It’s a weird situation because given current form, including large parts of 2015/16, it’s hard to put forth a convincing argument as to why he should be given a chance now by a new manager who is under an enormous amount of pressure himself to deliver. In 2015/16, Depay suffered from Louis van Gaal’s mismanagement if anything, in 29 appearances he made, only 16 were starts and remarkably, he only played the full 90 minutes 10 times in the league.
Depay is a player that was used to starting every game, playing every minute in the Eredivisie for PSV where he made his name in the 2014/15 campaign where he started every single game and made a grand total of 30 appearances, scoring 22 goals including a league high 7 free kicks. It goes to show that Memphis clearly is someone that thrives when he is trusted and despite the fact that it will take a lot of time on the pitch for him to produce consistently in the English top flight, evidence suggests he certainly can cut it at this level, given a run of games and especially even when he hits a rough patch – which he inevitably would.
The fact is Depay is not getting the game time he needs. He has played a mere 20 minutes of Premier League football for Manchester United and has yet to start a league game for Mourinho. Can the Portuguese offer Depay regular football all of a sudden seeing past the eventual mistakes he would commit in games at a time when he is expected to settle down on a first eleven which will most certainly not feature the Dutchman, and achieve some consistency?
Highly implausible as he finds himself way down the pecking order behind Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and even Wayne Rooney who put in his best performance of the season on the left of the front three in the 1-3 away win against Swansea. This is why Depay should be offered a chance to showcase his football at a club where he will be welcomed with both arms, trusted with game time under a manager who has generally enjoyed a good rapport with youngsters and put to much less scrutiny which could provide a more conducive environment for this rough diamond that is Depay to become the polished jewel.