Memphis Depay could be fighting for his status as a Manchester United player following his exclusion from Jose Mourinho’s squad for Thursday’s trip to Fenerbahce, despite not suffering any fitness concerns.
Dick Advocaat, Depay’s former manager at PSV Eindhoven who will be in charge of the Turkish side in the Europa League tilt, said the winger still has the “right mentality” to succeed at Old Trafford but, at 22, needs to be playing regularly.
“The potential is there for him to be a good player,” Advocaat told the Guardian’s Jamie Jackson. “You cannot lose that, he has the quality to be a top player, but the problem for him is that there are so many quality players in that squad.
“So for himself it is important to start playing regularly at the age that he is at – otherwise the way, I think, is that maybe he has to find another solution (club) because he is too good to sit on the bench. I still believe in him, he has the right mentality, the right character to play for United, but there are so many options there. Regular playing time will help his progression.”
Depay’s only start this term came when he mustered 55 minutes against third-tier Northampton Town in the League Cup in September, and has collated just 20 minutes through four substitute appearances in the Premier League.
Robin van Persie, meanwhile, is available for his second appearance against his former employer in two weeks. The veteran striker was withdrawn 66 minutes into Sunday’s visit from Karabukspor, but Advocaat dispelled any worries that the substitution was anything more than handing his player rest.
“He was not injured. I just saved him. It was 5-0 at that time,” the Dutchman explained.
United won last fortnight’s reverse fixture 4-1 at Old Trafford, with Van Persie bagging the consolation, but Fenerbahce will have renewed belief in light of back-to-back league wins and Mourinho’s side’s recent indifferent form.