Van Gaal Explains Memphis Depay Benching, Hails Gakpo & Noppert
Dutch football player Memphis Depay of Olympique Lyonnais attends a press conference for the Nanjing match of the 2017 International Champions Cup China against Inter Milan in Nanjing city, east China's Jiangsu province, 23 July 2017. — Photo by ChinaImag

Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal has explained his decision to start Barcelona star Memphis Depay from the bench in Monday’s 2-0 World Cup win over Senegal.

The Dutch needed two goals in the final 10 minutes, from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen, to overcome the African champions who were without Sadio Mane.

PSV Eindhoven talent Gakpo, Steven Bergwijn and Vincent Janssen were preferred to Depay in the starting XI, with the Barcelona attacker brought on in the 62nd minute for the latter.

”We had agreed before the game that he would play about half an hour,” van Gaal told reporters.

“With Ecuador, he will want to play, but I have to assess his form after this game. I never thought we would lose and, with the entry of Depay, I wanted to have more chances to score. He is a player who can make the difference.”

Van Gaal praised Gakpo, who has been linked with Manchester United. The young attacker got his head to Frenkie de Jong’s lofted ball before Senegal keeper Edouard Mendy for the opening goal in the 84th minute.

“Gakpo was decisive, I left him inside because he knows how to score goals and is very agile,” he said.

Van Gaal also praised goalkeeper Andries Noppert, who made his international debut in the game. The 28-year-old Heerenveen stopper made a few key saves to keep Senegal at bay.

“Senegal had three chances, but we have a goalkeeper who knows his stuff between the posts,” van Gaal said.

“We didn’t play very well, too many times, we gave them the ball and the chance to score.

“We had to be more compact. We can only improve, there was probably some tension between the players.”

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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