Barcelona attacker Memphis Depay has been relegated to a bit-part role, having started just two games across competitions this season. Former Chelsea defender Mario Melchiot believes the lack of minutes could have adverse effects on the winger's performances at the IFA World Cup in Qatar later this year.
Depay is expected to lead the attack for the Netherlands at the quadrennial tournament. Oranje manager Louis van Gaal recently hinted that the winger will likely make it to the squad for the competition despite his limited involvement at Barcelona.
Melchiot, though, feels Depay's lack of minutes in Xavi Hernandez's team could tell in his World Cup performances.
“Playing as a player, you want the rhythm, you want to be playing every week. To him, especially the way he plays because he's used to always playing," the former Blues defender said on ESPN. “It's the first time that he won't be performing in those many games back to back. He's one of the key players as well in the side, he's the main striker."
Melchiot went on to add that Depay will need to train harder to maintain his fitness considering his lack of playing time at Barcelona. According to the Dutchman, that will enable Depay to be ready for the World Cup and be a difference maker for his nation in the tournament.
“If he can stay fit, even when he's not playing, train harder, make sure that he can get into the World Cup really well; I think he can make a big difference and if not, it will be somebody they miss at the top of his game.”
Memphis Depay's numbers for Barcelona so far this term
Memphis Depay has made three appearances for the Blaugrana across competitions since the campaign kicked off. Two of them have come in La Liga, while the other has come in the UEFA Champions League.
Depay has had just 131 minutes of playing time across those games, scoring once, Considering the level of competition in Barcelona's squad at the moment, it doesn't look like the winger's situation will change any time soon.
So, it wouldn't be a surprise if he ends up re-considering his options after the FIFA World Cup. A departure from the Camp Nou in January could well be on the cards for Depay.