Tag Archives: memphis depay

The Curse of the Number 7 Shirt

There is no escaping the history of the prestigious number 7 shirt when it comes to Manchester United. Best, Robson, Cantona, Beckham, Ronaldo. All have worn the famed shirt and have elevated the number to near legendary status. It is seen as the ultimate accolade when one is handed the illustrious squad number at Old Trafford. However, since Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit in 2009, the number seems to have been hit with a curse as player after player have failed to live up to the hype that comes hand-in-hand with wearing the famed shirt.

I’m too young to remember the genius of George Best and (just) too young to remember Bryan Robson elevating himself to club legend status. Eric Cantona was where it all started for me, and he is the reason I fell in love with the number myself. Seeing Cantona strut around the Old Trafford pitch with his collar up and the number 7 on his back made me dream of following the Frenchman as the next owner of the shirt. Of course, that didn’t happen, with that accolade falling instead to David Beckham. Becks still remains something of a cult hero at Old Trafford and, upon departing the club for Real Madrid, youngster Cristiano Ronaldo was handed the task of filling the boots of the then England captain.

Ronaldo celebrates another goal for Manchester United
Ronaldo became one of the most famous bearers of the number 7 shirt during his time with Manchester United

During his six years at the club, Ronaldo embraced the history of the shirt, beginning his journey as a lightweight, although fast-footed, youngster before leaving the club as the best player on the planet. However, since then, the shirt has almost died a death.

With his prodigal son leaving for Spain, Sir Alex Ferguson produced what was seen at the time as a masterstroke by bringing Michael Owen to the club from recently relegated Newcastle United, and immediately handed him the number 7 shirt.

Michael Owen in action for Manchester United
Michael Owen scored some important goals, but injury hampered his progress at Old Trafford (Picture: michaelowen.com)

Knowing he would forever be chastised by Liverpool fans, Owen remained excited by the prospect of finally winning a Premier League winners medal (something he later achieved) but injury seriously halted his progress at the club. The former England international will forever be remembered for his injury-time winner against Manchester City in the thrilling 4-3 win in 2009. Despite that, Owen managed just 52 games over three seasons before joining Stoke in 2012.

Then, almost inexplicably, Sir Alex Ferguson decided to make his last owner of the number 7 shirt Antonio Valencia in 2012. We’ll skip over this period swiftly as this remains one of the darkest moments in the history of the shirt, before Valencia himself admitted that the expectation that comes hand-in-hand with the shirt was too much to bare, before reverting back to the number 25, a squad number he still holds to this date.

The number remained vacant during the ill-fated David Moyes tenure before Louis Van Gaal made a huge signal of intent upon his arrival by bringing Real Madrid superstar Angel Di Maria to the club for a then club record £59.7 million. The Argentine was immediately handed the number 7 shirt and gave us all reason to believe that he could live up to the huge expectation which comes with the shirt.

Di Maria left Old Trafford after only one season at the club
Di Maria carried a huge expectation when he arrived at the club (Picture: dailymail.co.uk)

It all started so brightly as well. Some sublime early form was capped with a superb goal against Leicester City in 2014 was one of the goals of the season, leading to some sections of the media to claim that the Premier League had a new best player. However, that form was short lived as injuries, break-ins and personal problems led to Di-Maria becoming disillusioned with life at the club. It soon became clear that Van Gaal was unimpressed, and dropped his record signing for much of the remainder of the season before allowing him to join Paris Saint-Germain the following summer.

Then came Memphis Depay, our current 7. Memphis arrived with a swagger as we all took to YouTube to witness his excellent goal scoring abilities for PSV Eindhoven and we all believed that the Dutchman was the man to raise the number 7 shirt from the ashes. There was some early glimpses as Van Gaal believed in his acquisition but this belief has not been shared by current boss Jose Mourinho who has limited the 22-year-old to only four substitute appearances in the Premier League this term, and has confirmed that he can leave the club should the right offer come in.

As things stand, Everton are thought to be the front runners for his signature, although it is believed that the two clubs differ in opinions when it comes to the specifics of the deal.

So what next for the number 7 shirt? Rashford? Martial? How about a new signing? Griezmann? An unlikely return for Ronaldo?

If the past eight years are anything to go by, maybe the club should just retire the number altogether, save face while they can. What are your thoughts? Have your say below.

Depay wants to prove worth to Jose

Memphis Depay is eager to prove his worth to Jose Mourinho after the United boss told him he believes in him both publicly and in private.

Memphis has far from lived up to his £25million price tag during his time at Old Trafford. Memphis arrived from PSV at the start of last season after scoring 22 goals in the Eredivise but has suffered with poor form and inconsistent performances.

Memphis stated that United is his dream club but has admitted he wants to be playing more.

“Things are going well on the training pitch.

“I am fresh and fit. Mourinho is a great coach. He has told me he believes in me, both in person, but also publicly.

“I would rather not talk about last season. That is something of the past. I should have performed better. Being a fringe player is not the role I want.

“I am not happy just because I play for Manchester United. This is my dream club, but I still want to play.

“It is difficult that I am not always part of the match squad [at United], I feel like a loaded gun. I am ready to play, but I have to wait for my chance.”

Mourinho is yet to give Memphis his chance this season with Mourinho handing him just 1 start and making 4 substitute appearances across all competitions.

Tell us what you think about Memphis Depay and his career at United so far. Do you think he will prove a success or will he be sold next year?

Moments of Memphis

Memphis Depay only managed a brief cameo appearance late in the second half of the 1-0 Europa League defeat against Feyenoord. He failed to impact the game from the bench, but showed slight glimpses of flair. However, failing to make the starting line up in a heavily rotated squad spells worrying times for highly rated Dutch man.

Louis Van Gaal beat both Liverpool and PSG to the signature of the 22-year-old forward for a reported £26M from PSV Eindhoven last summer. This was on the back of a dazzling season in the Dutch Eredivisie in which he was named the top goal scorer with 22 goals.

Memphis was Eredivisie's top scorer before joining United (Picture: Mirror.co.uk)
Memphis was Eredivisie’s top scorer before joining United (Picture: Mirror.co.uk)

France Football named Memphis the “Best Young Player” in the world in 2015 and was widely regarded as the most exciting young player to come out of the Eredivisie since fellow Dutch compatriot Arjen Robben.

His pacey and tricky playing style earned him a comparison with former Man United Number 7 Cristiano Ronaldo who believes “Memphis is one of the best young players in the world”. Wayne Rooney, Arjen Robben and Marco van Basten have all stated similar claims.

During the 2015/16 Season, Memphis’ Number 7 Man United jersey was the third most sold after Ronaldo and Messi. It’s clear he began life in Manchester as a fan favorite, but the fan’s patience is now running out.

Don’t believe the Memphis hype?

His debut season with Man United didn’t exactly dazzle the fans or the manager with just 7 goals in his 46 appearances.

His ability, however, was evident from the start, most notably against Club Brugge at Old Trafford, scoring twice and assisting Fellaini’s final goal.

Memphis struggled with consistency and form, but his greatest obstacle came in the form on a rather unknown French teenager, Anthony Martial who signed from AS Monaco in the same season only hours before the transfer window shut.

Memphis Depay (Picture: independent.co.uk)
Memphis has failed to live up to expectations since his arrival from PSV (Picture: independent.co.uk)

Martial secured his spot on the left-hand side of the pitch after his debut against Liverpool scoring a memorable final goal off the bench and 2 more goals in his first Premier League start away at Southampton 8 days later.

Memphis has been overlooked by Mourinho this season, only featuring for one Premier League minute as a late substitute against Bournemouth back on matchday one, but Mourinho had pledged to give him and other fringe players a chance to shine during the month of September when the games come thick and fast.

Disappointed not to start against Feyenoord, Memphis needs to grasp every opportunity to impress the boss in order to fight his way back into the starting 11. With Martial’s current form under question, perhaps further opportunities await for Memphis to showcase his quality and his value to the squad.

It’s do-or-die for Memphis this season as Jose Mourinho eye’s a move for Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann next summer. An under-performing Memphis may need to make way for yet another Frenchman.

How do you feel about Memphis? Is he done? Or do you think we may still see the best of him in a United shirt? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Memphis given warning

Under performing Memphis Depay receives warning from boss Louis van Gaal.

Following his arrival in the summer, Memphis had a bright start to his Manchester United career, scoring two against FC Bruges, one against former club PSV and one away at Sunderland.

However, in recent weeks the 21 year old has struggled to live up to his own and the fans’ expectations.

This has led to the former Eredivisie star receiving a warning from manager Louis van Gaal with the boss saying that Memphis could suffer the same fate as former United stars Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao.

Louis van Gaal had this to say:

Ryan has already given advice to him but the player is responsible for his own deeds,

You have to give respect to your team philosophy.

Read the full article on the Sky Sports website here.

Do you think Memphis will come good or do you think he will end up leaving Old Trafford next summer? Leave us a comment below.