The Dutchman has struggled in his first season at Old Trafford following a £40million move from Ajax in the summer, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer only using him as a back-up for key man Fernandes in his 4-2-3-1 formation.
The 23-year-old has started just two Premier League matches, scoring just one goal in 25 appearances in all competitions, with his game-time coming largely off the bench and in the cups.
Donny van de Beek reacts during Manchester United’s win over West Ham this week
‘It was a strange move in the first place for Donny to go there,’ former Tottenham, Newcastle and England midfielder Jenas told The Mirror after Van de Beek’s quiet performance against West Ham in the FA Cup on Tuesday night.
‘It is very similar to the issue Tottenham have with finding a replacement for Harry Kane, which is why they’ve never found anyone of close quality.
‘People know they’re not going to play. The only way you get the best out of any player is you fill them with confidence – especially players like him – by playing them every week, making them feel part of the project and showing that they’re not just the side dish.’
Van de Beek was replaced on 73 minutes by Bruno Fernandes (left) with the score at 0-0
Van de Beek scored 41 goals in 175 appearances for Ajax, making him one of the most sought-after young midfielders in Europe before his move to United, and Jenas feels that he may have to move again to regain his form and confidence.
He added: ‘When he was at Ajax I saw a player that was a problem for teams, arriving late in the box, scoring goals. At the minute he just plays safe and because of the position he plays he’s always being compared to another player – their best player (Fernandes).
‘Unfortunately the only way I see him getting back to a confident state and playing again is to move. He needs to be the special player.’