Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has issued a warning to Memphis Depay to improve his game in order to reclaim a place in the starting lineup after moving to Old Trafford in the summer following a successful season with PSV Eindhoven. He played a key role in helping his former club win the Dutch league title last season.
The 21-year-old has struggled to adapt to his new life in England and has not started for Red Devils in the Premier League since their 3-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates in October. The winger has spent more time on the bench after the Gunners clash and was also dropped by Danny Blind for the Netherlands squad, only to be recalled later to ease injury woes.
United take on Watford in the Premier League clash on 21 November and Van Gaal is already without the services of Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Marouane Fellaini, who join three other players to miss the fixture. The Dutch manager has hinted Depay could return to the starting XI when Red Devils face Quique Sanchez Flores's side.
"Of course [I expected more from Depay], otherwise he would still be in the team," the Mirror quoted Van Gaal as saying.
"Otherwise I wouldn't look for another solution, and I have looked for another solution in my team.
"I have kept Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira, for example, for that option, so now he has to fight back and he does it, so I'm satisfied. He is always looking very good in training. There's always a chance [he can play]. But I have to see and compare players."
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager admitted that he is not surprised by Depay's dip in form. The Dutch international has been replaced by Jesse Lingard in recent times and Van Gaal admitted the England winger's form has made it difficult for his compatriot to get back into the playing XI.
"I have said that players at that age are not consistent, and when you change the player, then another player has a chance. That other player is Jesse Lingard. He has played very well but also with him it's a question if he is consistent and that we have to wait and see," the United manager said.
"I don't have any problems with players, but sometimes they are out of the selection because their competitor is in that moment in a better shape. But that doesn't mean that I have a quarrel with the player. It's a matter of form."