Antonio Valencia felt so much pressure that he had to get rid of it and now Memphis Depay appears to be struggling with the weight of expectation that comes with being Manchester United's No.7.
The list of those who have worn it before him reads like a smorgasbord of some of football's finest ever players. David Beckham, George Best, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo have all helped to turn United's No.7 shirt into an icon.
Unfortuantely, its history has proved to be burden on Depay. The Holland internaitonal arrived amidst much hype in the summer transfer window, but has so far struggled to recreate the fine form he showed at PSV Eindhoven.
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Beckham may not be the best player to ever wear the No.7 shirt at Old Trafford, but he is certainly the most famous, and he has some advice for the 21-year-old. For him, wearing it was never an something to be feared, but simply cherished.
The 40-year-old, who graced the Old Trafford turf in a charity game last Saturday, has advised Depay to not be intimidated by the legacy left by those before him and to cut out his own history.
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“I don’t see it as an intimidation, I see it as an honour,” Beckham told the Guardian. “When you get given the No.7 shirt it doesn’t matter who has worn it in the past or what that player has achieved in the past. At the end of the day it is a special shirt to wear but I don’t think personally that it comes with any pressure. It always was an inspiration for me.
“It was never my shirt. It was George Best’s, Bryan Robson’s, Eric Cantona’s. The only reason I wanted to wear the No7 shirt was because of these players. The No7 shirt is a special shirt for Man United. It always has been and it always will be.”
Fall from grace
Louis van Gaal started Depay in 12 of Manchester United's opening 13 games this season, but the winger has started just once – the League Cup defeat to Middlesbrough – since their 3-0 reverse against Arsenal on October 4.
Since then, his stock only seems to have fallen further with Holland coach Danny Blind questioning his ability to flourish in a team game. However, there appears to be a chance for redemption just around the corner.
With Anthony Martial set for a spell on the sidelines after injuring his foot for France, Depay is likely to get the chance to re-establish himself against Watford this Saturday.
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