The big breakthrough of 2014 – Memphis Depay is ready to lead PSV to glory
Separated by just four points at the half way mark of the season, the title race between Ajax and PSV is expected to intensify even further in the second half of the season. Frank de Boer’s reigning four time champions are entering a period in which they are generally at their best, while Phillip Cocu’s men have avoided a massive capitulation like last season to remain in contention.
While it’s Ajax’s formidable squad and group cohesion which is pivotal for them in their fight for a fifth consecutive championship, PSV will find themselves looking towards certain individuals to help carry them to league glory and there’s one man who has shown in his breakthrough year across 2014 that he can end seven years of pain for the Eindhovenaren.
Memphis Depay is BeNeFoot’s best young player of 2014.
For a while, we considered handing it to Terence Kongolo. The central defender of Feyenoord has become one of the league’s finest players within a matter of months. Ronald Koeman didn’t trust him in the centre of the backline, with Bruno Martins Indi given the nod and Kongolo kept at left-back. But when the current Southampton manager was asked what his favoured team for the Oranje would be during the World Cup, he didn’t hesitate to put the youngster in. To emphasise that view, Koeman went out and tried to get Kongolo at Southampton, but Feyenoord were unwilling to sell.
Kongolo was picked for the World Cup, played his part and returned to Feyenoord as a surefire starter. Together with Sven van Beek, another nominee, he has been commanding at the back for Feyenoord. It is only a matter of time before Terence Kongolo gets snapped up by a major European club, with rumours linking the youngster (still only 20) to Manchester City – already home to his younger brother Rodney – among others.
Other possible contenders were sc Heerenveen’s Daley Sinkgraven, someone we really like over here at BeNeFoot, Tommy Oar of FC Utrecht, who has surprised many by his incredible run of form this season, Albert Rusnak who has impressed many at SC Cambuur, and one particular editor was keen to add Hans Hateboer to the list but was voted out by the other crew members.
HOWEVER: Memphis. That man Memphis. The whole of Europe has been raving about the kid even though many have probably not seen him play, so big is the buzz. And it’s justified too. Memphis Depay has gone from a frustrating kid with a lot of potential to an exciting prospect with a lot of ability. The first hints of this came during the World Cup. Becoming the first player to both score and assist for the Dutch coming off the bench in a World Cup game, the former Sparta Rotterdam player proved an exciting option for Louis van Gaal. And ever since he has been back at PSV, extending his contract in the meantime, he’s been a level above the rest. Memphis Depay finished topscorer of the calendar year in 2014 in the Eredivisie with 16 goals, but it is telling that 10 of those came in the 13 appearances he made in the current season. PSV dropped points in four games so far, Depay was missing two of those and was substituted in one after seven minutes due to injury, a sign of his importance.
We knew he was good. He had the skills on the ball, the shot, the pace, the power. But it was always a question of whether he would fulfil that potential that he so clearly had. Now, it is more a case of when he’s going to grow into his role of bonafide superstar in world football. But first, he has to lead PSV to the league title…