In modern football, it seems, a player can only be one of two things: brilliant or rubbish. There is no middle ground - as Manchester United’s Memphis Depay is discovering following his £31 million transfer from PSV Eindhoven.
United fans were buzzing when Memphis arrived in the summer. This was a 21-year-old winger who had scored an eye-catching 28 goals in his final season in the Eredivisie and had been dubbed, despite the fact he’d achieved relatively little in the grand scheme of things, as the next Cristiano Ronaldo.
In truth, the ‘next Nani’ probably would have been a more apt title - and that’s not a snide remark. Nani produced many good performances for Manchester United during the eight years he was at Old Trafford. His biggest problem, though, was doing it on a consistent basis.
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Nani struggled for consistency during his first couple of seasons, in particular, but Sir Alex Ferguson stuck by the Portuguese international because he knew the wait would be worth it.
The wait was worth it. Nani scored double figures in both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 campaigns before a succession of untimely injuries - and the departure of Ferguson - effectively ended his career with the Red Devils.
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Comparisons with Ronaldo are unfair
Nani suffered from being labelled the new Ronaldo - it was an unfair tag that he was never going to live up to - and that unrealistic weight of expectation also bears down heavily on the shoulders of Memphis who might come across as the most self-assured footballer in the world but will no doubt be plagued by his own insecurities following a difficult start to his Manchester United career.
Memphis needs the support of his manager, teammates and the fans at times like these - but it already feels like some Manchester United supporters active on social media have already lost patience with the Dutchman, which is crazy.
Memphis will prove his doubters wrong
Memphis is finding his feet in a new league. The Premier League is far superior to the Eredivisie and the big step up is proving difficult for the winger to adapt to. This shouldn’t come as a huge shock to fans.
However, the former PSV star has the speed, technical ability and strength - both physical and mental - to succeed in England’s top division and it shouldn’t be much longer before he’s producing the performances that Van Gaal knows he’s more than capable.
Manchester United gave the No. 7 shirt to the right man - but the fans need to give him time.
Manchester United fans: are you confident that Memphis Depay will come good for the Red Devils - or do you have real concerns? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!