David Beckham has urged Memphis Depay to use the history of Manchester United’s iconic No 7 shirt as inspiration to rediscover his form.
Depay was handed the famous number after completing his £27.9m move from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2015, but has so far struggled to cope with the demands at Old Trafford.
After starting 12 of United’s opening 13 games, Depay has fallen out of favour with Louis Van Gaal since United’s 3-0 defeat by Arsenal at the Emirates on October 4
Anthony Martial has been preferred in Depay’s favoured position on the left but is an injury doubt for Saturday’s trip to play Watford at Vicarage Road.
Martial left Wembley on crutches on Tuesday after sustaining an ankle injury for France against England and his potential absence could hand Depay a chance to get himself back in Van Gaal’s starting line-up.
Beckham insists the only way to approach the iconic shirt is to embrace it and take inspiration from past legends like George Best and Eric Cantona.
“I don’t see it as an intimidation, I see it as an honour,” Beckham said. “When you get given the No 7 shirt it doesn’t matter who has worn it in the past or what that player has achieved in the past.
“At the end of the day it is a special shirt to wear but I don’t think personally that it comes with any pressure. It always was an inspiration for me.
“It was never my shirt. It was George Best’s, Bryan Robson’s, Eric Cantona’s.
“The only reason I wanted to wear the No 7 shirt was because of these players. The No 7 shirt is a special shirt for Man United. It always has been and it always will be.”
Beckham was eventually handed the shirt by Sir Alex Ferguson but only after being forced into giving up the No 10 after Teddy Sheringham joined United in 1997.
“I went from wearing the No 10 shirt and then the manager calling me in and saying: ‘We’ve just signed Teddy Sheringham and he wants No 10.’ And I was like: ‘Oh really, do I have to give it up?’
“There wasn’t really a conversation to be honest. So obviously I didn’t argue the fact. I always wanted the No 7 shirt; I just never thought I’d get it.
“But when the manager decided to give me it, it was special.”