• World Cup 2022

Netherlands: Van Gaal reveals Depay decision ahead of Ecuador clash

Memphis Depay at Netherlands
Getty Images

The Dutch forward has returned to action after spending two months on the sidelines.

Louis van Gaal has revealed Memphis Depay will play for 45 minutes in Netherlands’ upcoming match against Ecuador.

Depay returned to action after two months when he played for the Oranje in their 2-0 win over Senegal on Monday. 

The Barcelona star insisted he has regained full fitness after the game. But Van Gaal has decided to stay cautious over the 28-year-old’s fitness.

“With Memphis, he was training in Amsterdam and that was individual,” the Dutch manager said on Thursday. “Now he needs to train with the team.

“We’ve increased intensity, he’s played 30 minutes now. He isn’t grappling too much with the issues. We’re proceeding with the next step, which is 45 minutes.

Private Internet Access

“We’re trying to extend that, because the injury he has makes it so difficult to decide when he can start.

“He’s quite an extraordinary player, so I’ve set aside my principles because I consider him incredibly important.”

Van Gaal went on to include Depay among the very few players who could’ve had a place in Netherlands’ 2014 squad. The former Manchester United coach, however, believes his current side have a higher average in terms of quality.

“We have an average quality higher than 2014,” Van Gaal added. “I’m not talking about the top players we had at the time, perhaps Memphis is at that level and might reach that level, and Frenkie de Jong perhaps.

“But then the matches were decided by players like Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder. That’s just the way it was.

“Now in our squad we have a much higher average. Forwards like Memphis, [Steven] Bergwijn, [Cody] Gakpo. I hope that will be a pleasant surprise.”