Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman has assured Memphis Depay that he remains an important part of his plans, despite the forward’s struggles at Lyon this season.
The former Manchester United player has only found the net once for Lyon in Ligue 1 since November and failed to make an impact in last week’s 5-1 Champions League defeat to Barcelona.
It marks a frustrating downturn in form for Depay, who had impressed greatly in France following his arrival in January 2017.
The 25-year-old’s strong performances at Lyon in the past even convinced team-mate Rafael that he’s capable of reaching the same level as five-time Ballon d’Or winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
For Koeman though, Depay has nothing to prove to him despite his current struggles at Lyon this season.
“I spoke to him about that. He wants to perform and make goals, he wants to be important,” said Koeman, according to Football-Oranje.
“But it is part of the fact that things go differently at times than you would like. His trainer now makes certain choices in this.
“Memphis does not have to prove anything to me, he has shown me often enough how good he is. He has an important role in the Dutch national team and must continue to do what he has already done with us.
“His situation at his club is different than at Oranje, perhaps his feeling. He wanted to prove with Lyon against Barcelona how good he was and that didn’t work. That was disappointing. But his situation with the Oranje has not changed at all.”
The former Everton manager suggested that part of Depay’s struggles at Lyon come from being selected as a winger instead of his favoured centre-forward that he enjoys at the Dutch national team.
Koeman added: “Memphis always shows to be very happy with the Dutch national team. I went to see him in Lyon in December.
“Then I stayed a day longer to be at the training complex with him and Kenny Tete. Then I also talk to him about things like the criticism he receives in France and his things on social media.
“But I have to focus on what he does with the Dutch national team and I can’t be dissatisfied with that.
“Maybe that’s why he feels a little better at Oranje than at his club, let’s hope it stays that way. With us he always plays as a striker, he regularly plays in the side with a lot of freedom.
“Maybe that is a bit different. He feels happy with his role with Oranje, perhaps a little more happy than with a role on the wing.”
Holland will take on Belarus on Thursday and Germany three days later in their EURO 2020 qualifiers over this month’s international break.