Say what you like about Memphis, his performances or flamboyant fashion sense, but it’s hard not to admire his determination and desire to become a top player at Manchester United.
The Dutchman has endured a mixed time since completing his high-profile transfer to Old Trafford from PSV Eindhoven in May 2015, registering a solid total of 45 appearances in his debut season but missing out on the triumphant FA Cup final squad at Wembley. His playing time has been limited under new manager Jose Mourinho, too, with only one start and four substitute appearances so far this campaign.
It is clearly a frustrating time for Memphis in his young career, filled with challenges and hurdles to overcome, yet he remains upbeat about fulfilling his potential at United. While on international duty with the Netherlands this week, he spoke to the media about his present situation in Manchester.
“I am the same person and I know what I want,” the 22-year-old told the Dutch newspaper Metro Nieuws, who were understandably eager to catch up with the Eredivisie’s top scorer in 2014/15. “A supporting role is not for me,” the winger continued. “I’m not a player who is happy with the fact that he is under contract with Manchester United. This is my dream club, but I want to play.”
Memphis also praised Mourinho and thanked the manager for expressing confidence in his ability, both privately and publicly, while also explaining how his methods had raised the level of training at United. The quotes were then recycled by the British press on Wednesday morning but, for me, they appeared to be taken out of context with many outlets claiming Memphis is looking to leave.
My own impression of his answer is quite the opposite. This is a young player with grand ambitions who is itching to prove his worth at United, but is not impatient enough to quit when the job isn’t done. He wants to be the star, not the support act, and is bold enough to chase his dream. Personally, I believe that approach in somebody so young should be encouraged and embraced.
It strikes me that Memphis is misunderstood by some members of the public. There is a perception in some quarters that he is flashy and over-confident, which perhaps stems from his interest in fast cars and extravagant clothes. But have you ever read anything about acts of ill-discipline, insolence or petulance from him? No, me neither. On the contrary, I hear good things.
Mourinho has already saluted the no.7’s professionalism this season and his work ethic is also evident in the many social media posts that feature personal training footage, showing him putting in extra graft with captions featuring his motto “dream, believe, achieve”. He’s even spoken just this week about going for late-night runs around his home after sitting through matches on the bench.
Memphis is also known to be one of the most popular and accommodating players with the children who patiently wait for selfies outside the Aon Training Complex. Curiously, MUTV organised for one young fan to interview him last month in what was meant to be a quirky, light-hearted exchange. While it was just that for the most part, one question about advice for schoolchildren provided an insight into his bullish state of mind.
“Never doubt yourself,” he told the wide-eyed inquisitor. “I don’t know what your dreams are but just believe in yourself. Everything is possible in this world, you just have to go for it. Don’t let anybody put you down and always keep your head up. Positive vibes will bring positive things.”
Of course, it is easy to be a nice guy with a positive attitude and lofty ambitions. The hard part is producing quality performances at a consistent rate and Memphis knows he must do that at United. All he needs is an opportunity, a bit of luck and an injection of momentum to kick-start his season.
Whether he achieves that or not, you can guarantee it will not be for a lack of effort.
The views expressed in this article are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Manchester United Football Club.
Source: Manchester United Official