Depay not playing because he wants to leave – Mourinho

The Manchester United manager says the Dutch winger has continued to be overlooked this season because he is seeking a January exit

Jose Mourinho has revealed he banished Memphis Depay from his first-team plans after the out-of-favour Manchester United forward sought a move away from Old Trafford.

Depay is set for a January departure after struggling to make an impact since his big-money arrival from PSV last season, managing just 20 minutes of playing time in the Premier League under Mourinho this term.

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In total, the 22-year-old Netherlands international has only appeared in eight matches in all competitions and was last seen in the United squad for the Europa League fixture against Feyenoord in November.

And United manager Mourinho explained the reason why Depay has been on the sidelines in 2016-17.

“He was not playing last season. It was not that last season he was playing phenomenally and this season he is not playing at all. That’s not the situation,” Mourinho said.

“I have to say that in the past couple of months my decisions in relation to Memphis were influenced by the feelings and information that he would like to leave in January and that we were going to have a real offer that we would be willing to accept. That obviously influences me.

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“If I know, if I have the feeling that a player is leaving – if I have to give chances and develop other players – then I go to [Jesse] Lingard, [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, [Anthony] Martial, the players I know 100 per cent who are going to stay with us. It is a position where we have more options.”

United welcome Middlesbrough to Old Trafford for Saturday’s Premier League fixture.