Louis van Gaal has hinted Memphis Depay could become Manchester United’s new first-choice left-sided forward, in place of Ashley Young, if the Dutch star fails to adapt to his new central position behind Wayne Rooney.
Depay, 21, was surprisingly quiet on his Premier League debut against Tottenham on Saturday afternoon and was subbed off with just over 20 minutes left to play.
Van Gaal will continue with the Depay-behind-Rooney experiment for the next few matches, but the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich head coach admits the Netherlands international could be moved to the wing if his below-par performances continue.
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"It is a new position for him and he has to adapt to the new position because he is a goalscoring type,” Van Gaal was quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News. "But we have to wait and see if he can fulfil the demands of this position but that’s also because Ashley Young is playing very good on the left side.
"Therefore that is the circumstances now but it can change during the season. He can play in this position.
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"Memphis has speed. He didn’t show that too much (against Tottenham) but he has to learn that also that when he has to go and when he doesn’t have to go.
"We didn’t have much of the ball. It is not only because of him but also his fellow players."
Van Gaal: Memphis needs to relax
Van Gaal also believes Depay needs to relax a little more on the pitch.
"He is too eager I think,” the 64-year-old added. “I have said that in advance you have heard that.
"New players, especially young players, want to show their qualities and the next match shall be only because of that be better for him."
Depay would be more effective on the wing
Some Manchester United fans who watched the team’s uninspiring 1-0 win over Spurs believed Depay would have been more effective on either the left or right flank.
Depay scored 28 goals in 40 appearances for PSV Eindhoven last season from the wing, but Van Gaal clearly feels Manchester United’s new number seven has something to offer through the middle.
Young is a good squad player
Young, meanwhile, recently signed a new three-year contract extension at Old Trafford following his excellent 2014-15 campaign.
However, Van Gaal himself conceded that the 30-year-old is not in the same class bracket as the likes of Barcelona superstar Neymar - and Manchester United are looking to recruit more players of that ilk.
Neymar’s teammate Pedro is expected to join the Red Devils later this month and the Spain international will be handed the opportunity to make the right-sided forward position his own.
A three-pronged attack featuring Pedro, Rooney and Depay could make Manchester United a significantly more fearsome unit than they are right now.
Manchester United fans: should Louis van Gaal drop Ashley Young for Memphis Depay? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below!