Saturday 22 October 2016

Depay proud to take on number seven

Published 09/08/2015 | 13:08

Memphis Depay is following in some famous footsteps at Manchester United
Memphis Depay is following in some famous footsteps at Manchester United

Memphis Depay is confident he will be able to cope with the pressure of wearing the famous number seven for Manchester United.

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Depay impressed on his debut on Saturday as United started the season with a comfortable 1-0 win over Tottenham.

The Dutchman attempted a variety of tricks, raced at Tottenham's back four and played a key part in the build-up to Kyle Walker's own goal, which settled the match in the 22nd minute.

After wearing nine in pre-season, Depay changed his squad number to seven for the new campaign following the departure of Angel di Maria.

Antonio Valencia famously gave up the squad number as he felt he could not deal with the burden of wearing the same shirt worn by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Eric Cantona and David Beckham.

But Depay is happy to take the pressure on his shoulders and is convinced he will have a good first year at the club.

"Yes, of course (I'm aware of the pressure) and the history," the United forward said.

"I appreciate the history, but I want to be my own man.

"It's an honour to wear the number seven and I will wear it with pride.

"Last year I played with seven on my back (for PSV) and I scored a lot of goals so I am confident with that number."

Depay's haul of 22 league goals for PSV convinced United to spend £25million on the Dutchman this summer.

Although Depay failed to score on debut, his mazy runs and trickery brought United fans to the edge of their seats.

The 21-year-old is also aware of the long list of players in United's history who have displayed similar traits like Ryan Giggs, Ronaldo and George Best.

"I'm aware of that and I want to be as good as possible this year," Depay added.

"I want to bring creative things, goals,

"I have to play with discipline in midfield. I can't lose the ball too much, but I can make risks on the sides and when I come into the third phase, then I can make my tricks and take risks."

Louis van Gaal was relatively pleased with the performance of his team on his 64th birthday.

After a bright end to the first half, United failed to maintain the same rhythm after the break and Michel Vorm had little to do in the Spurs goal.

Despite a lack of attacking threat, Van Gaal says he will only dip into the transfer market for a forward if he has stellar quality.

"It is not a special objective for me. But when we can buy another striker who has a lot of qualities more than our players then we buy, but we have done that always," the United manager said.

Van Gaal is not desperate to sign a centre-half either, even though he will be without Phil Jones for at least three weeks because of thrombosis.

"No, we have three centre-backs, we have (Paddy) McNair, Jones and (Chris) Smalling but if he is much better than them then it is possible," he said.

"We go for the best players and it has to be possible."

The own goal was harsh on Walker, who played well for the rest of the match.

The England defender has had a torrid time with injuries over the last year, but this season he is hoping for a clear run in the Spurs first team.

"I just want to put last season behind me," the Tottenham right-back said.

"I sacrificed my summer to try and get back fit and hopefully the benefits will pay off this season."

Regarding the own goal, which he scored from eight yards when trying to dispossess Wayne Rooney, Walker said: "I sprinted a long way to get back there and just tried to stick my foot in and make him kick my foot rather than the ball but unluckily it has touched my foot and gone into the back of the net."

Press Association

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