Louis van Gaal fears that Memphis Depay could follow Angel di Maria in failing to adapt to his “philosophy” at Manchester United.
Depay was an unused substitute in the 3-0 victory over Everton on Saturday, a disappointing end to another difficult week for the Dutchman, who has reportedly been warned over his behaviour by United assistant manager Ryan Giggs.
The summer signing has struggled to make an impact on the Premier League since signing from PSV for £25million, and Van Gaal admitted after the Everton win that he fears 21-year-old could follow in the footsteps of Di Maria and Radamel Falcao in failing to adapt to his infamous philosophy before their respective exits.
“Some players cannot adapt to the team philosophy,” Van Gaal said. “That you cannot know in advance. You have to see that.
“Because you see a lot of qualities in a player, but he has to put that quality in service of your team.
“That also happened with Ángel di María and [Radamel] Falcao – both great players but you have to fit in with the philosophy. Not only with Memphis, with every player that we have bought.”
Dropping Depay at Goodison Park handed a rare opportunity from the start for Ander Herrera, and the Spaniard grabbed the chance with both hands by scoring once and having a hand in the other two goals.
When pushed to pick out one player for praise, Van Gaal singled out Herrera, who Matt Stead hopes has finally earned his manager’s trust.
“I have seen a lot of individual players today who are playing very good but that is also because the result is very good,” Van Gaal said.
“When I have to mention one name, I have to mention Ander Herrera. He played very well and had a great contribution with the goals.
In typical Van Gaal fashion, the manager added: “It’s difficult to drop him, but I can do it.”
Van Gaal then discussed his decision to substitute Juan Mata for Jesse Lingard at half-time, with United leading 2-0.
“That was tactical and I was very happy, I have congratulated him (Lingard) with a good performance in the second half.
“He didn’t lose any balls, one pass to Wayne Rooney maybe, but that is the only pass I can remember, and he did his defensive work very well so I am very pleased with his performance.”
The Red Devils boss then spared a thought for Luke Shaw, who continues his rehabilitation and recovery from a double leg fracture suffered last month.
“He is already here, he is already walking with a brace, and it is unbelievable,” Van Gaal said.
“Luke is every day here, he has started already his rehabilitation, but he has a long way to go.”