Angel di Maria has been told he needs to get some rhythm into his game if he is going to succeed in the Premier League over the next few seasons, by his manager at Manchester United.
Louis van Gaal is confident that the Argentina international can be a great success at the Old Trafford club at some point, but that it would take time for him to really hit his peak because of the marked differences between playing in Portugal and Spain.
It is likely as close as we'll get to Van Gaal admitting Manchester United's record signing has not been producing the goods since he arrived from Real Madrid in the summer. A number of commentators have claimed Di Maria is yet to really justify his price tag yet and it is difficult to argue.
"Di Maria has to adapt to the English rhythm of the game. That's a high standard and the big difference with other countries. He shall do that. I'm convinced of it," Van Gaal told MUTV, as reported by the Daily Express.
£59.7million was the price the Red Devils reportedly paid to secure his services from the Santiago Bernabeu club and it could be weighing him down somewhat. Di Maria has claimed that an inability to speak English and the poor weather have been holding him back.
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There is something in that claim, though it's unlikely to be swallowed by any of his more fierce critics, as moving to a new country where you do not speak the language and having huge pressure on you is probably a pretty daunting.
Premier League footballers are routinely expected to be able to deal with such overhauls in personal situations without so much as a blink, but we should remember any kind of upheaval in a person's like can affect their work.
Having said that, there are few professions that can make such a change quite so comfortable than that of a professional footballer. His wage packet is sizeable and he has the means to live in luxury from the moment he touched down.
The Real Problem
But the real problem here is Van Gaal; the Dutch coach has tinkered with his team and system for much of this season and is yet to seem as though he knows his best team. When there is not consistency provided by the manager, how can the players be expected to perform flawlessly?
Fourth in the Premier League and unable to put a run of wins together for the best part of two months, the jury is still very much out over whether he can take them back into the Champions League places this year, never mind make them title challengers again.
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