From a young boy to a mentor. Memphis Depay’s role in Orange has changed dramatically compared to the 2014 World Cup. “I think I’ve grown as a person and as a footballer. As a person I’ve become more mature. I was 20 then. Now he expects me something different than it was back then,” he says. The 27-year-old is a striker for Olympique Lyonnais in the run-up to the European Championship, which kicks off for the Dutch national team on Sunday with a match against Ukraine.
Depay hasn’t been a constant value seven years ago. As a substitute, he scored a goal in the group match against Australia and Chile. Depay is now very valuable, the game is specially designed for him. “Of course I have a sense of responsibility, that I have to carry a team. I’ve always carried that, no matter my age. I think that’s what got me that far. I don’t really feel pressured. I see every game as a great challenge with the team.”
The Netherlands started the tournament in 2014 without high expectations, but eventually finished third. So far, Orange doesn’t appear in line with the top contenders for the overall win. “We have a different set, of course,” says Depay. “It’s something different than it was in 2014. You can try it differently at the age of 20. But I have to say it comes close in terms of experience.” “I also noticed that it’s getting close. It does something to your sharpness, everyone is on edge. We already have the atmosphere of the group. It didn’t change anything.”
Depay played his role in the spotlight at the 2014 World Cup and moved from PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United a year later, with former national coach Louis van Gaal as coach at the time. “What could this tournament mean for a career? A lot. I think the way the football world looks at you as a player changes drastically if you play a good tournament. You can put yourself in the spotlight if you have a dream of joining a big club. Yours as an experience. Previous players still talk about the final tournaments. They have their memories of it and take those memories with them for their whole lives. It goes beyond the moment itself. All Holland is sympathetic. It’s wonderful, we all have to experience it. Everything must make way. So. ”
The striker often tries to show his international teammates how special they are with Orange. “You must not forget to enjoy the fact that you can play for the Dutch national team. I also say that to the ‘boys’, enjoy it. It can only be your last time, and no one knows what’s ahead ‘When you have this, you just keep On the hunger to prove yourself, every time. I do my best to keep it that way. We all believe in our quality.”
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