Gary Neville 'believes' in Angel Di Maria at Manchester United but fires Memphis Depay warning
Last Updated: 18/05/15 4:26pm
Gary Neville is backing Angel Di Maria to come good for Manchester United following an inconsistent first season in the Premier League.
Big things were expected of the Argentina international, who did not feature in United's 1-1 draw against Arsenal and has managed a return of just three goals from 26 league appearances following his £59.7m move from Real Madrid.
While Neville thinks Louis van Gaal needs to strengthen his wide options in the summer, the Sky Sports pundit thinks Di Maria can perform better next season.
“United do need wide players,” Neville told Sky Sports’ Gary Neville Podcast. “Ashley Young has had a fantastic season but, as much as he’s done well out there in recent months, Juan Mata isn’t a wide right player.
“It will be interesting to see what happens with Angel Di Maria as well.
“Actually, I believe in Di Maria as a player. We’ve watched him a lot for Real Madrid and you could see his level of performance was outstanding.
“That’s not happened this season and you’re thinking Ashley Young has done better this season, (Maraoune) Fellaini’s been better, Mata’s done better.
“Is Di Maria going to do better under Van Gaal?”
Van Gaal has already made one addition to his squad for next year with Dutch forward Memphis Depay joining the club from PSV.
The 21-year-old was confirmed as the Eredivisie's top goalscorer after the league's final round of fixtures on Sunday and Neville thinks he is an exciting signing.
He said: “It’s a typical Manchester United signing to sign someone who has got potential but hasn’t yet grown to become the finished product.
“United have done that over the years, particularly with foreign players.
“I think Depay looks like an exciting player but there’s a lot of obstacles to overcome to determine as to whether he going to become the real deal,” he added.
“He’s got to settle in the country and get used to playing football in Manchester. It will be different but it fits the bill in terms of him being a young player.”
Radamel Falcao, however, appeared to wave goodbye to the Manchester United fans after he was substituted on Sunday and Neville is not surprised the Colombia international seems set for the Old Trafford exit.
“There was disappointment,” the former Manchester United full-back said. “Then there was a wave and then a second wave.
“It was a goodbye wave. Usually you give a salute wave when you are acknowledging the crowd. There was definitely a goodbye to this wave as the hand was moved side to side.
“I don’t think it would be a surprise to anybody to see him leave. It hasn’t quite happened for this season for one reason or another.
“As a striker you rely on confidence. I don’t think he’s ever been full of confidence since he came to Manchester United,” he added.
"I think you have to say Louis van Gaal is tough to play for. He expects a lot and whether that has worked or not for Falcao, I’m not sure.”
For more from Gary Neville on Manchester United’s season and his views on David de Gea's potential exit, download the Gary Neville podcast at www.skysports.com/podcast