As little as eight players have felt the negative effect of Jose Mourinho's arrival at Manchester United this summer, with the Portuguese having sorted through the wealth of talent within his squad, and selected who will be a part of the Mourinho era.
However, one of the players not heading for the exit, likely to the surprise of many Red Devils fans, is Holland international Memphis Depay. The £31 million winger provided little to an underperforming United side that finished fifth last season under former boss Louis van Gaal.
But with the demands of modern-day football, which includes fixtures in the league, both cup competitions and the Europa League, Mourinho has assured the 22-year-old that he will find himself amongst United's first team action this season, despite not featuring in the Red Devils' Community Shield squad at Wembley, last Sunday.
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Questions have arisen about the player's attitude, having regularly been spotted with flash super cars and, perhaps harshly, likened in the past to Mario Balotelli - whose career has taken a nose dive since being sold by Manchester City.
Speaking ahead of Manchester United's Premier League opener at Bournemouth on Sunday, Mourinho said: “Depay is very much part of my squad.
“I know you look at the last match and he was not even on the bench but in September we have the EFL Cup, Europa League and Premier League, so that will be the end of the frustration for the players not being selected at the moment. I was impressed with Depay at the last World Cup and that was two years ago when he was a very young kid."
Assured of opportunities
Seemingly United's congested fixture list is in the favour of the Dutchman, who did nothing last campaign to prove to Mourinho that he is worthy of remaining on the wage bill. Nonetheless, he and 18-year-old Marcus Rashford have been assured they will play their part this season, despite high profile arrivals in both midfield and up front.
Mourinho was keen to quash talk about Depay's behaviour and attitude, instead reflecting on the many happy occasions that he has watched the highly-rated Holland star in the past, and Mourinho more than expects him to reach those heights again, soon.
“I watched him many times at PSV, and having that player in mind, I want to keep him. Especially as I see a good boy, a good professional. You can see him driving a nice car and think his mind is not on football but that is not the case. I don’t care what people think, I believe in him. He is frustrated with what happened last season when he lost all his confidence but he will be back.”
The world-record signing of Paul Pogba, as well as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic's arrival have done nothing to help Depay's chances, however, if the winger is as good a professional as Mourinho makes out, the new additions will spur Depay on to perform at an even higher level.
But, for now at least, Depay will have to continue to battle for his place in the squad, never mind the starting XI. However, the cup competitions look likely to give the 22-year-old the chance to express himself and regain some much-need confidence.
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