He may have only played four times for Lyon but Memphis Depay is already feeling the heat in France. 

  • By Michael Bell
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The €25 million move from Manchester United to Lyon was seen as the perfect opportunity for Memphis to get his career back on track after a difficult spell in England. However, the French media and even some Lyon fans are starting to point fingers at the Dutchman after only four appearances.

Memphis made his debut for the French side from the bench in the win over Marseille last month and got tongues wagging with an exciting cameo. However, that has been followed up with three anonymous performances, culminating in a disappointing showing in the 2-0 defeat to bitter rivals Saint-Etienne on Sunday.

Lyon boss Bruno Génésio, who is under pressure himself, decided to show support to the Dutch international and handed him his first league start over Mathieu Valbuena for the clash at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Memphis couldn’t repay that faith as he put in a performance which saw him hooked after the hour mark and ridiculed on social media and in the French media.

Memphis couldn’t complete a single dribble or cross during the game and consistently lost possession in key areas. A failed overhead kick has been shared all over social media, while when through one on one with the Saint-Etienne goalkeeper, he couldn’t finish. L’Equipe were particularly scathing in their assessment of the winger and scored him a 2/10, making him their joint worst player on the pitch. Only Mammana was scored the same and he made a critical error which directly led to a goal.

After the game, Génésio defended Memphis, and put his performance down to the fact that he basically hasn’t played all season and is still rusty. He said, “Memphis has not played for some time. He is full of quality, he is a player in whom I have complete confidence.

“It is simply necessary that he regains rhythm, a physical level that allows him to express his qualities. There is no concern about that.”

However, this is clearly not how Memphis wanted to start life in France and the pressure is already beginning to build on his shoulders from all sides. Three defeats in a row have left Lyon out of the cup and the race for a Champions League spot, with the club currently 12 points behind third-placed Nice.

On Wednesday there is another round of Ligue 1 fixtures, and Memphis will get another chance to redeem himself as his side welcome Nantes to the Parc Olympique Lyonnais. The clubs fans will be expecting an improved performance from the Dutch international, but to be fair it couldn’t get much worse.

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