Monday 15 February 2016

Memphis and Manchester United..... where has it all gone wrong?

The player arrived at Man Utd with great promise but has seen his reputation nosedive and faces a struggle to get back in the team.

Memphis Depay and Manchester United have enjoyed, and then endured, very similar seasons.

There was early promise as the Dutchman's individualism helped confirm a Champions League spot followed by a hiccup at Arsenal that dampened the early enthusiasm.

In November it was Depay, playing as a makeshift forward at Watford, whose goal helped the team to the top of the league.
Still very much functional, even if the spark had disappeared.

Then came the fall.

The 22-year-old winger started each of United's four defeats in December- to Wolfsburg, Bournemouth, Norwich and Stoke- that saw a Champions League exit and the wheels spectacularly ripped off the season.

Since then, we've barely recovered: six points off the top four and not playing like a side that can win the Europa League.

While Louis van Gaal has borne the brunt of that, few players are struggling more than Memphis to right their season.

He has not started since being hooked at half-time at the Britannia Stadium ten matches ago after surrendering the opening goal.

As fans seek a focal point for their frustrations, the winger has been chastised for the concession of late goals at Newcastle and Chelsea, for spending his wages on a flashy car and even for celebrating his birthday.

On or off the pitch, he just cannot get any decisions right.

If a reputation rehabilitation seems unlikely any time soon, what has gone so wrong for a player whom arrived at Old Trafford as one of the game's most promising young talents?

It was seen as a coup when United nicked in ahead of Liverpool and PSG to sign Memphis, and the player spoke of the influence of Van Gaal whom he regarded as a father figure, in convincing him to join the Reds.

Better players than him has struggled to rediscover their best after being misused: record signing Angel Di Maria- another whose popularity with fans fell off a cliff- lasted only 12 months before moving to Paris.

Yet that doesn't help Depay's situation.

Having been used out of position to accommodate formation and injuries, there is now little chance of the player taking his preferred left-wing spot off Anthony Martial whom has settled into that role and looks like United's best outfield player.

Jesse Lingard's efforts have cemented his place in the team whilst Andreas Pereira, Ashley Young and Adnan Januzaj (when fit) provide further competition on the wings.

Memphis still has time, age and ability on his side to improve his own fortunes.

Just seven months into his Old Trafford career, it already feels like there is a substantial tide in need of turning to avoid joining the rapidly growing number of players since 2013 whose individual reputations have fallen foul of team failings. 

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