David Beckham has insisted the No.7 shirt should be an inspiration for those who wear it at Manchester United as the current holder of the honour, Memphis Depay, continues to struggle at Old Trafford.
Memphis started the majority of Man United’s games at the start of the campaign but he was dropped to the substitute’s bench by Louis van Gaal following the 3-0 defeat against Arsenal in October.
There were high hopes for the Dutchman when he followed in the footsteps of club legends such as George Best and Eric Cantona by taking the No.7 shirt in the summer but he has so far failed to justify the honour.
However, Beckham believes that no player that wears the shirt should be intimidated by it.
“I don’t see it as an intimidation, I see it as an honour. 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,” he said.
“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.
“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.”
It was always a big ask for Memphis to come in and hit the ground running at Old Trafford and he will need time before he truly flourishes. There is undoubtedly an excellent player in the youngster, he just needs to adapt to life in England and the Premier League.