Sun. Jan 17th, 2021

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Donny van de Beek opens up on playing with Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani

3 min read

Donny van de Beek says he has quickly developed an understanding with his Manchester United teammates since arriving from Ajax.

Van de Beek, 23, joined United in August for a fee rising to £40million and made his first Premier League start at Southampton on Sunday.

The Netherlands international has already played as a deep-lying midfielder, in the playmaker role and in a midfield diamond and started successive United games for the first time against Istanbul Basaksehir and Southampton last week.

Van de Beek has linked up encouragingly with fellow playmaker Bruno Fernandes – who stressed at the weekend ‘we know we can play together’ – and is enjoying playing with the Portuguese and Edinson Cavani.

“It’s fine,” Van de Beek said of playing with Fernandes. “Also at Ajax before I played in a lot of different positions: I played 8, 10 and even number 6, so I am used to it and I play in a lot of different positions.

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Manchester United secured a dramatic comeback victory at Southampton on Sunday, largely thanks to Edinson Cavani’s two goals off the bench.

Bruno Fernandes’ goal set Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on course to battle back from 2-0 down at St Mary’s, giving United a third successive Premier League win.

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“I think [Cavani’s movement is] really important because especially for me, if you come in the box it gives you some extra space, because the defenders always look extra to strikers, so it gives extra space for the midfielders. I see from day one he is a professional. It’s sometimes hard to communicate but he is very important to the team.

“I think they understand it already because they’re world class players, so there’s no difference. I play with new teammates and you need to understand each other. We understand each other. I can play that kind of style with them.

“I just work hard every day and I know that I can give the team something extra and help a lot, so yeah I was just patient [for my first league start].”

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer highlighted the versatility in his squad as Cavani pushes for a start against former club Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night. Cavani was United’s matchwinner at Southampton in the absence of Anthony Martial, who was unwell, but the Frenchman is fit for the visit of PSG.

Cavani has scored more goals than the Frenchman this season despite starting just twice for United and Martial was moved to the wing to accommodate the Uruguayan when he came on against West Brom last month.

“There’s only one position here that we can say is only between Dean [Henderson] and David [de Gea], the rest of them can play in plenty of positions like Donny,” Solskjaer explained. “How flexible and versatile Donny is, Anthony, Marcus [Rashford], Mason [Greenwood], and Edinson even, they can play all the front four positions.

“Bruno can play in loads of positions, there’s Paul [Pogba], there’s loads who want to be in the team. There are tactical reasons sometimes behind it; sometimes it’s Edinson, Marcus, Anthony or Mason through the middle.

“Sometimes it’s two of them and I don’t think that [competition]’s going to be an issue at all, no.”

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