“It is not always sunshine,” was Arjen Robben’s vital warning to Memphis Depay regarding life in the Premier League with Manchester United.
The Netherlands captain was reacting to recent criticism of his compatriot from both club manager Louis van Gaal and national team coach Danny Blind, which resulted in his omission from both teams.
The 31-year-old himself went through the highs and lows of being a precocious talent in the English top flight.
At the age of 22, the coveted winger joined Chelsea from PSV Eindhoven – and in three years won two league titles, an FA Cup and three League Cups. He was a huge success at Stamford Bridge, however he also garnered the reputation for being a diver, an accusation that resurfaced at the 2014 World Cup.
Depay also arrived in England from PSV. United paid £31m for the 21-year-old, who had helped the Dutch giants win last season’s Eredivisie, finishing as the league’s top scorer. But he also came with the ‘baggage’ of a poor attitude…
This reported attitude problem, in part, led to Van Gaal dropping him in October, while Blind initially left the forward out of the Netherlands squad in November stating that he was not yet a “team player”.
And somewhat curiously, Depay’s fashion sense was recently derided by former Ajax coach Co Adriaans,
who said he dressed like a "Peruvian panpipe player".
But would United fans care if their new signing dressed like Lady Gaga but helped deliver a 21st league title? Five goals in 16 appearances, the last of which came in the 2-1 win at Watford on Saturday, is good return so far with his club in contention for honours both domestically and in Europe.
PSV's academy director Art Langeler has closely watched Depay's development. When asked whether the criticism of the young Dutchman was fair, his response was an emphatic "no".
"He's a focused player and does everything for his career," the 45-year-old told BBC Sport. "The image portrayed of him is not the real image of Memphis.
"He's still young, so he sometimes plays well and sometimes has difficulties.
"He's grown to a good level in Holland, but not the level of required at United, so he has to adjust to that and living in England."
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