Two years before today, the name Memphis Depay was something in response to which fans would say “Who in the world is that?” or you could expect a look of smirk which registered anonymity for the man himself. And after the youngster’s meteoric rise to prominence, the name is on the lips of football fans all over the whole wide world.
Rightly so, the 20 year old has come on leaps and bounds, especially this season for Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven before announcing his arrival on the world stage by scoring a belter of a goal against Australia in the FIFA World Cup for the Oranje. Depay has, thus far, netted 18 times in all competitions in a total of 23 appearances, which quite convincing for the clubs circling around him such as Manchester United and Tottenham.
The latest headline maker in world football, Depay has been at the receiving end of a lot of rave reviews, none more so than the PSV boss Phillip Cocu. ‘Whether he can be as good as Arjen Robben? I think so,’ Cocu told Russia’s Sport Express in the build-up to their Europa League clash against Zenit St Petersburg.
‘They are different players, but they are both fast and have a good shot. And both always have the urge to learn.
‘But Memphis is only 21-years-old and only in a few years can real conclusions be drawn.”
Memphis’ directness and tendency to drift inside makes him someone who can be easy to be placed in a juxtaposition to Arjen Robben. He’s strong, robust and a steam rolling resembling dribbler down the left flank. And most often don’t back down from comparing Depay with Footballer of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo. And rightly so, Depay, much like Ronaldo has got a venomous dead ball ability which has drawn comparisons to the Portuguese talisman himself.
Depay has been someone who stands out not just among his teammates, but even in the Eredivisie. Apart from cementing his place in the first side, on the left of a 4-3-3 formation, Depay leads the Eredivisie goal scoring charts despite of playing 2 games less than ADO Den Haag striker Michiel Kramer who has scored 13 times so far.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about his performances this season has been the dramatic way in which he has changed his style of play. Whereas for most of the previous season Depay was a selfish player – he had more shots than any other player in the Eredivisie last year – he has evolved his game to become far more rounded.
As per Whoscored, Depay has made almost 24 percent of contributions towards PSV’s title winning cause, which is higher a contribution than any other Eredivisie player. And the 20 year old has made 2.7 dribbles per game, which is more than any other player. At this stage of the season, Memphis has scored three more goals than how much many he had scored at this stage of the previous season.
Depay certainly has matured as a player since the last season. He has inculcated a tendency to track back and help out full back Jetro Willems and left central midfielder Andres Guadrado, only to create more chances than any other player except for Willems himself. The most admirable aspect of him is his willingness to work off the ball. Depay presses very well upfront, though he used to quite clumsy in doing so till the previous season, but he has matured in that sense too.
Memphis has even been blessed with a terrific balance, which allows him zip past full backs when drifting inside and allowing him to create spaces for other attacking team mates.
A constant problem with Depay’s play is his routine of losing the ball out in physical situations. More so, sometimes it seems as if Depay lacks the incisive to pick out a pass which can lead to a goal or simply, undermining his decision making ability. There are portions of the game Depay has to improve upon, but there has been a considerable amount of improvement in the way he plays and the approach he carries into games week in and week out. Goals are something which would entice big clubs into snapping him up but he could be a perfect fit for both United and Tottenham, if he addresses the weaknesses in his game at some point this season. Although, Phillip Cocu has admitted that Depay is likely to leave PSV this summer, but there are areas Depay needs to improve a wee bit upon.
Otherwise, it’s highly likely that someday, Depay will move a big European club and moreover, there’s no glint of doubt about the fact that he is the future of Dutch football. A move to either Man United or Tottenham would be highly anticipated, but his contract which ties him to PSV until 2018, will make sure that PSV yield a hefty amount by letting him go quite unlike the case of Christian Eriksen before he moved to White Hart Lane last to last summer.