All balls on Depay: ‘Expectations always high since my Orange debut’



All eyes will be on Memphis Depay in the coming weeks, the player who can make the difference for the Orange at the European Championship. He wants to decide big games and the 27-year-old attacker seems to be in top form. Depay also expects a lot from himself. “Especially now that it’s about it.”

Seven years ago, the Netherlands was last there at a major tournament. Depay just came to watch at the time, but immediately seized the opportunity to show himself on the highest stage.

“Expectations have always been high since I made my debut in Orange,” says Depay, who contributed to the third place of Orange at the 2014 World Cup. “But it has not always been good.”

The Netherlands missed two final rounds, the European Championship in 2016 and the World Cup in 2018. And Depay’s image was also damaged.

Misplaced traits?

His transfer from PSV to Manchester United turned out to be a disappointment. In addition, his behavior was outside the lines under a magnifying glass. The media talked and wrote about the misplaced traits of a player who was not performing on the field.

Now Depay dares to look straight into the camera again. And he has every reason to.

“My role has changed with the arrival of Ronald Koeman. I have become central. Then I became more important”, Depay saw the sentiment around his person turn around three years ago. But now for him in the right direction. “I’m comfortable in my own skin.”

The experience he gained over the years in top football did wonders. But he also worked very hard for it, as witnessed by his rehabilitation after he suffered a serious knee injury a year and a half ago. And now that top form is back.

“I think you can’t plan top form, that’s something elusive,” says Depay. “But that determines whether you will compete with the absolute top.”

Responsibility

In the prime of his life, Depay dares to take on the responsibility. With his high return, he draws attention to himself and the top ten of all-time top scorers of Orange is now within reach. If Depay shoots five more, he equals Wesley Sneijder, who is in tenth place with 31 hits.

“I think it’s beautiful. Still a compliment that you are important to the team”, he says about the attention, which stimulates the good feeling in him. “Now trying to hold on to this and take this into the first game.”

The match against Ukraine on Sunday should herald an unforgettable summer, in which Depay will also sign with a new top club after his transfer-free departure from Olympique Lyonnais. Luck smiles on him on all sides.

Depay says he has had periods when he did not want to talk to the media. That comes up again when Quincy Promes is mentioned.

Fellow international Promes is a suspect in a stabbing incident, a case that was rekindled in the media in the week before the European Championship. But Depay keeps his jaws tight when the subject is broached.

“He is a good friend of mine, it makes sense that you ask me,” says Depay. “But you won’t hear about it from me.”

Just give Depay the ball, the fastest way to forget all the misery and to give color to Dutch football at an international level. “We want to do that for the people. And we want to play a top tournament for ourselves.”

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