You know things are bad when even the international break is not enough to escape the mistakes made at Manchester United.
Like most United fans, I spent the international break furiously throwing my remote control at the television when Harry Maguire decided to become Pele, yet the Netherlands’ 2-0 win over Norway on Tuesday night proved to be just as frustrating a watch.
Former United coach Louis van Gaal and his team celebrated securing the World Cup qualifier with the victory, but there is one particular person who deserves great honor for having helped his team secure the top spot in Group G, and that is one all United fans will know. .
Memphis Depay was brought to Old Trafford by Van Gaal in 2015. Prior to his arrival, Depay had enjoyed an excellent World Cup in 2014 under Van Gaal, and there was genuine optimism that the couple could revive their fruitful relationship in Manchester.
Things looked bright for Depay early in his Old Trafford stay. He was a tricky, intricate winger – the kind of player United fans love to see – and he created a great partnership with Luke Shaw. On top of this, he worked well with Wayne Rooney in an attack that promised so much but ultimately produced very little.
The double leg fracture that Shaw suffered in the Champions League against Depay’s former club PSV Eindhoven meant that the Dutchman had lost his left-wing partner, while his relationship with Rooney also began to suffer, and he was criticized for slowing down the game as United needed runners . behind.
Both Marcus Rashford’s and Anthony Martial’s form meant that Depay suddenly became something of an afterthought at United as he struggled to cement his place in the starting-11.
Van Gaal was eventually fired, and when Jose Mourinho replaced him, Depay hardly got a kick. He was eventually sold to Lyon, where his switch to a more central role made him flourish into one of Europe’s best shooters.
In total, he scored 76 goals and recorded 55 assists in 178 games for the French outfit – some went after a player who had looked lost at United.
This summer he came to Barcelona on a free transfer and has so far scored six goals and delivered two assists in 16 games. Considering how poor the Catalan team has been this season, Depay has got some pretty impressive numbers.
Depay confirmed Holland’s place at the 2022 World Cup on Tuesday night with a late goal in which his 10 World Cup qualifiers in the campaign got 12 goals and six assists. The attack on Norway was his 38th for his country, which means he is only 12 behind Robin van Persie’s record through time – not bad company at all.
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Personally, I feel that United made a big mistake with Depay. Imagine what could have been if we had turned him into a striker.
It’s a shame that things did not work out for him at United, because I would love to see him back at the club. He would have given a completely different opportunity than the ones currently available to Ole Gunnar Solskjær, and he would almost certainly be ahead of Martial in the chopping block.
I will always wish him good luck because he is red at heart, but I can not help but think about what could have been.
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