Eredivisie Revelations Number 1- Memphis Depay is the Netherlands’ brightest youngster

BeNeFoot’s countdown of the top 10 revelations to come through in the Eredivisie this season has come to an end!

Over the last few days We looked at the brightest players who have emerged and impressed fans and pundits alike with an excellent 2013-14 season. Numbers 10 through 2 have already been unveiled and today we bring you number one. Here he is, the most impressive revelation in the league of revelations. Congragulations:

Memphis Depay – By Peter McVitie

A 20-year-old with remarkable skill, speed and talent, PSV’s Memphis Depay is certainly one of the standout talents in the Eredivisie, as this campaign has proven.

Depay first emerged as a frequent late substitute towards the end of the 2011-12 campaign, chipping in with three goals in his eight appearances to help PSV secure a third place finish.

The following season he was used much often but again generally as a substitute as he made just to league starts, scoring twice and setting up three.

It was clear throughout that integration that he was a player to watch, although, his attitude seemed a potential hazard in his formative years as he was seen as a cocky, pretentious youngster.

The attitude problems appear to have abated, however, as this season he has shown to be a bright, tricky winger with dazzling skills, impressive pace, a good touch and, on occasion, an excellent shot. The youngster has not only been PSV’s best player throughout this tumultuous campaign, but is clearly one of the best young players in a league full to the brim of bright prospects.

The Netherlands international is the most dangerous winger in the league by some distance. FC Groningen’s Filip Kostic, with 225, is the only player to have attempted more dribbles than Depay, who has tried to beat his man 198 times. However, he has completed a staggering 101 of those dribbles (51%), while Kostic has a success rate of 39% and Renato Ibarra of Vitesse is the only other of the Eredivisie’s top ten dribblers to keep their completion rate over 50%.

While there have been several positives from Depay, it hasn’t been all smooth for him. He hasn’t spent the last campaign as a consistent maverick who has taken the world by storm. Far from it. Throughout the opening half of the campaign, he was really quite a frustrating to watch.

Player Games Played Goals Shots, Total Shots, on Target Shots, off Target Shooting Accuracy (%) Shot Conversion Rate (%)
Depay (PSV) 32 12 132 64 68 48.48 9.09
Pellè (Feyenoord) 28 23 104 63 41 60.58 22.12
Finnbogason (H’veen) 31 29 96 53 43 55.21 30.21
Castaignos (Twente) 31 14 92 47 45 51.09 15.22
Linssen (Heracles) 31 11 80 48 32 60 13.75
Ziyech (H’veen) 31 9 72 34 38 47.22 12.5
Tadic (Twente) 33 16 68 34 34 50 23.53
Chery (Groningen) 31 7 67 40 27 59.7 10.45
Immers (Feyenoord) 32 12 64 37 27 57.81 18.75
Havenaar (Vitesse) 32 10 64 29 35 45.31 15.63

The above table shows the ten players who racked up the most shots in the Eredivisie this term, which Depay tops. Hitting 132 shots and scoring only 12 goals is, on the face of it, ridiculous and wasteful. That he has hit 28 more shots than the next highest shooter in the league shows that he does indeed too trigger-happy. Furthermore, the three players who trail the young winger in the chart are central strikers.

That he has hit such a great deal of shots throughout the campaign and not only were more than half of them off target but that he has a shot conversion rate of just 9% is startling.

By comparison, PSV’s central striker Jurgen Locadia has played a game less than Depay and hit only 53 shots and scored one more goal.

This is merely a snapshot of his troubles this season, however. Clearly a remarkably talented player, throughout the opening half of the campaign it appeared he was simply a one trick pony. Justified by his bright performances which saw him net four goals and grab two assists in PSV’s first 12 games in all competitions, he developed a habit of tearing down the left wing, cutting inside and

Depay, the brightest of the bunch © Pics United

Depay, the brightest of the bunch © Pics United

firing towards goal. This tactic worked fine during PSV’s misleadingly magnificent start to the season. However, as this team of young players who had never played together before and were led by a coach in his first full season in charge settled in, performances started to drop and victories eluded them. Regardless, Depay continued with his habit of charging down the flank, bringing the ball inside and firing towards goal, but without it leading to something.

Too flashy, inefficient, and seemingly incapable of learning that his persistence wasn’t paying off, fears grew that he was growing into a one-dimensional player.

In some ways, Depay looked as if he was struggling to find his identity. He appeared caught in the middle of trying to be a crossbreed of Arjen Robben and Cristiano Ronaldo instead of taking it slow, developing fully and becoming his own player.

Since the turn of the year, however, it appears someone at PSV has taught him how to think, or, more likely, with some good coaching, he has gained the confidence to try something new, look up, and pass, cross, or shoot, depending on the situation, not just pulling the trigger immediately.

Since then, Depay has become a much more productive player, scoring six goals and setting up three goals in the last 11 games of the season as PSV shot up from as low as tenth place near the halfway mark in the season to fourth, securing Europa League football for next season.

The 2013-14 campaign has proven that Depay is an exceptional talent, arguably the most talented youngster in the Netherlands at the moment, however, it is clear that he must spend another year or two in the Dutch league before he can move on. If he can replicate his form from the second half of the campaign and throughout the entirety of next term, he will develop immensely over the next year.

Being included in the final Netherlands squad for the World Cup this summer looks likely for Depay. If he spends the summer learning from senior players like Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, as well as coach Louis van Gaal, he will hopefully return to Eindhoven a wiser, sharper player ready to continue his journey to become one of the greats.

*All stats courtesy of WhoScored and Squawka, via Opta

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  1. Hatem

    I agree that it would be best if he stayed in the Eredivisie for at least a year, but he is ready to move on in my opinion. I’ve had a feeling he’s coming to United even before Van Gaal was appointed, it looks like its going to happen 🙂

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