Name: Memphis Depay
Who is he?
The child of a Ghanaian father and Dutch mother, Depay joined PSV Eindhoven’s academy aged 13 after spells at VV Moordecht and Sparta Rotterdam.
After five seasons with the youth teams, Depay finally made his PSV debut in the KNVB Cup against Noordwijkerhout in September 2011, scoring twice in an 8 – 0 win and bagging an assist.
Following that debut he had to wait until the turn of the year to stake a place in the first team, making ten substitute appearances. Yet he still found time to score three times in a shade over 100 minutes.
Although the 19-year-old tended to come off the bench for PSV last season, he doubled his league appearance record, scoring twice in 20 games and creating three more as the Dutch giants finished second in the Eredivisie.
The left-winger has become even more of key player for a very young PSV side this season, starting every league and European game on the left. He has already netted thrice in the league, adding another in the Europa League.
And this recognition of his talents and senior club level has translated itself to the Dutch national team. A member of the European U21 Championship squad, the 19-year-old has been called up to the senior squad by manager Louis Van Gaal for the final World Cup qualifiers.
Predominantly a left winger, Depay is also able to play on the left. He has shown a propensity for cutting in and trying his luck with regular attempts on goal. That has yielded goals from distance and for a wide player he gets on the scoresheet relatively regularly – granted that he plays on the left of a 4-3-3.
In the Champions League qualifier against Zulte-Waregem he scored a screamer from about 30 yards out (watch below) and in the Europa League last week, he curled in another goal from outside the box.
Aside from his ability from long range, he is also a threat from set pieces.
The fact that he has made his way into the Dutch squad suggests two things: he is a talent and he has an outside chance of going to the World Cup. However, if he does not get a debut cap soon, Ghana could still make a late charge to tempt him to represent the land of his father. But the fact that he has accepted a call up for competitive qualifiers suggests that he is looking towards the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, the fact that he is getting ample playing time under Philippe Cocu in an extremely young and vibrant PSV side will aid his development.
He has already started this season in fine form and if he can maintain that trajectory, big clubs could come calling next summer.