Ronald de Boer explains why Memphis Depay failed at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Former Ajax and Netherlands midfielder Ronald de Boer has explained why Memphis Depay failed at Manchester United, pointing towards the Dutchman’s failure to adjust to the furious nature of English football.

Memphis arrived at Old Trafford back in 2015 for a fee of £25m following a superb season with PSV Eindhoven but struggled to impose himself under Louis van Gaal, managing just seven goals from 45 appearances.

The Dutchman’s malaise continued under Mourinho, who didn’t hand him one Premier League start prior to his January move to Olympique Lyon. 

And De Boer, speaking to Sport360, was quick to highlight the 23-year-old’s failure to adjust to English football’s physical demands as one of the main reasons behind why he struggled at Old Trafford.

“Memphis is a great talent. It just did not work out,” he said. 

“He has his characteristics and perhaps he can be smarter at times. When people expect you to do things and you don’t deliver, don’t do other things to attract attention.

“The only thing I thought when I saw him playing was that you cannot stand on the ball and have time, in England they are much stronger and faster, you have to adapt.

“He did not really do that. He’s got it but thought he could do it standing still, he did not do it while moving. You need a good start. When you have doubts and they do not go away there is more pressure and people expect.

“But he is still young and he is at Lyon which is a great team. I still think he can have an incredible turnaround. He has the quality.”

It was clear that, somewhere beneath the confidence-sapped exterior, Memphis had some serious talent at Man United. That goal against PSV Eindhoven; that performance against FC Midtjylland; that match-winning display against Club Bruges. All glaring illustrations of a truly devastating attacking force.

But possessing talent is only the start. Success at the highest level comes only when these moments of aforementioned brilliance become a regular feature of one’s game, but Memphis never worked hard enough to consolidate what he could offer during his time in England.

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