Saturday 18 November 2017

LVG will be happy with Depay show

Memphis Depay
Memphis Depay

No wonder Louis was grinning like a Euro Millions winner. The boy Rooney is back and in one burst of brilliance, took a big step along the road towards the 20-goal season his boss wants from him.

But unless Van Gaal spends some more of the Glazers retirement fund in the next few days, he will need all of those goals and more from Rooney.

There's still plenty of talk out there about potential Van Gaal signings before the window slams shut but nothing concrete and given Ed Woodward's performance so far in this window, confidence cannot be high that he will pull off a last gasp coup.

Across town, Manchester City are pushing on, quietly buying the players Manchester United have been linked with and improving a squad which by all the evidence of the opening three games of the Premier League season, is already plenty strong.

In London, Chelsea are still doing business and even Arsenal look like they might make a few big money moves before the chance slips away.

But even though Manchester United have been tipped to sign almost every big player in world football over the last 12 months, most neutrals would say that Old Trafford still needs defenders and definitely needs a striker.

You have to wonder how Van Gaal has dished out nearly a quarter of a billion for various players since he arrived at Old Trafford and ends up still short in key areas.

He told the media that this season, he will use Marouane Fellaini as a striker more than in midfield before the Club Brugge game and it was hard to escape the thought that after £250m, surely he shouldn't need emergency strikers.

To be even more blunt, he shouldn't need Fellaini, who bailed him out of the manure at the end of last season. He must be astounded to discover that he's still needed for a spot of far-post lurking this term.

As it transpired, Fellaini stayed rooted to the bench while Rooney and some young legs made mince of Brugges.

Van Gaal has unearthed a real gem in Memphis Depay and clear signs of a growing understanding between the young Dutchman and Rooney will please him most of all from his evening's work in Belgium.

Rooney has been under the microscope and under pressure to deliver but he was back to his very best in this game.

Nothing like a new haircut to indicate intent and Wayne took out the sharp blade for this one, sheering the place where he always had locks but leaving the repaired patch intact.

He dug into his full repetoire and Club Brugge had no answer. By the time he hit his third goal, he was walking them into the net.

This was sublime stuff from Rooney and Depay, precision passing and wonderful skill for the first goal which broke Club Brugge resistance. On a different night they could have scored a half dozen in the first half hour.

Depay himself should have had his own hat-trick but has still to add accuracy to what is a formidable array of talents. When he does, he will be some player and perhaps someone who can bring Rooney to life.

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