Memphis Depay made his highly awaited return to the pitch during the Netherlands’ opening game in the World Cup, appearing as a substitute in the win over Senegal.
It was a major boost for the Oranje supporters, who are banking on the Barcelona forward to lead the offensive unit. His experience, coupled with his versatility and quality in the final third makes him the ideal leader of the pack.
However, there have been concerns over Depay’s fitness as the Dutchman was coming back from an injury layoff that saw him miss a chunk of the season with Barcelona.
But in a recent presser, the Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal has offered some clarity on Depay’s future, suggesting that the former Lyon starlet could appear more as the tournament progresses, even though there is still room for caution.
“Memphis Depay played 30 minutes, the next step is to play 45. His injury makes it difficult to determine when he can start, so we have to keep track of his recovery process,” he said in a press conference (h/t NOS).
After securing a win over Senegal in the opening fixture, the Netherlands will be hoping to continue their momentum when they take on Ecuador later this evening. One would expect Depay to once again feature as a substitute, although it will not come as a surprise to see him come on earlier than usual.
Depay’s return to the pitch and his performances in the ongoing World Cup could be essential for Barcelona, who are actively looking to offload the Dutchman in the upcoming January transfer window.
Manchester United are among the clubs looking at the possibility of signing Depay. Whether or not the attacker opts to complete his return to Old Trafford remains to be seen.