Memphis Depay: Has he made the best ever start by a Manchester United No 7?

The summer signing scored two wonder goals in the Champions League play-off first leg against Club Brugge

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The Independent Football

In just his third game for Manchester United, Memphis Depay scored two superb goals and announced himself as a potentially worthy incumbent of the famous number 7 jersey.

During the Champions League play-off against Club Brugge at Old Trafford, he took a quick pass from Michael Carrick with his back to goal and with one flick had the ball over the head of a defender and was bearing down at goal. With three defenders in front of him and another couple nipping at his heels, the Dutchman meandered across the box before unleashing a low right-footed shot into the corner to open his United account.

Before the first half was out, he had another. Cutting back onto his right foot, from just outside the box he curled it into the far corner.

 

Since his arrival from PSV Eindhoven the forward has been talking up his abilities and been unafraid to show a little arrogance - particularly in his request for the number 7 jersey.

For a 21-year-old, that seemed a risky approach - but after his goals against Club Brugge - maybe a justified one. Memphis has provided Manchester United fans with hope that they may be witnessing the beginnings of a new legendary Manchester United number 7.

But how does his start, which includes a couple of lively performances in the league before last night's exploits, compare to the best to have worn the shirt?

David Beckham

Beckham started to break through at Manchester United during the 1994/95 season (although at that stage he wasn't wearing the No 7 jersey), during which he played a total of 10 games. At 20-years-old, Becks could only manage a single goal during those appearances. It wasn't until a couple of years later when he scored from the half-way line against Wimbledon that he came to everyone's attention.

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David Beckham celebrates his goal from behind the half-way line against Wimbledon in 1996

 

Cristiano Ronaldo

Following his arrival from Sporting Lisbon, a much flakier Ronaldo quickly became known for his step-overs and not much else. It wasn't until his 10th game that he managed to score his first goal, which came at Old Trafford against Portsmouth. He would improve as the campaign went on, culminating in a goal in the FA Cup final victory over Millwall.

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Sir Alex Ferguson and Cristiano Ronaldo

 

George Best

In his first year playing for Manchester United - which came in the 1963/64 season, Best scored a healthy six goals in 26 appearances to give an indication of what was to come.

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George Best became a household name with Manchester United

 

Bryan Robson

After joining from West Brom in 1981, it took Robson over a month before finding the scoresheet - with hist first coming in a 5-1 demolition of Sunderland. His first couple of games weren't great - his debut being a 1-0 defeat and his first league match at home ending in a goalless draw. It was in the latter match, against Manchester City, that Robson first wore the number 7 jersey.

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Bryan Robson

 

Eric Cantona

Following his £1.2m switch from Leeds United the Frenchman took little time to find the back of the net. He scored on his debut against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and then scored in the following two games as well. A cracking start to what would go on to be an incredible four-and-a-half years at Old Trafford.

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Eric Cantona

 

And one whose Manchester United career didn't go so well...

Angel Di Maria

Perhaps reading much into early performances is unwise considering the start made by Di Maria. Following his £59.7m move from Real Madrid the Argentinian looked scintillating with three goals in his first five games, including a wonderful scooped effort against Leicester.

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Angel Di Maria

 

However, by the end of the season he couldn't get into the starting XI and was then sold to PSG.

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