Tue. Dec 1st, 2020

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Man United are following a winning formula with Donny van de Beek

3 min read

Donny van de Beek has been a Manchester United player for less than two months but his career at Old Trafford is already over if you listen to some of the ridiculous noise on social media in recent days.

The Dutchman became United’s first major signing of the summer and has dominated the headlines for the wrong reasons. Despite scoring on his debut against Crystal Palace, Van de Beek is yet to start a Premier League game and cut a forlorn figure on the United bench as he remained an unused substitute in the weekend draw against Chelsea.

Understandably, United fans are desperate to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hand more minutes to the £40million addition but the reaction of some former players and pundits has been ridiculous.

Dutch icon Marco van Basten, in particular, believes Van de Beek has made a mistake in moving to Old Trafford, claiming his development has already been harmed while Patrice Evra questioned United’s decision to sign the 23-year-old.

The notion that Van de Beek hasn’t played since his move is completely wrong. United have played eight games this season, with the midfielder featuring in seven of those fixtures. Only Marcus Rashford has featured in more.


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One of United’s main issues last season was a lack of depth and it’s clear Van de Beek arrived to add another quality option in the centre of the park. As Evra noted, is he better than Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes? Probably not. But does he add quality to the United squad? Absolutely. Will he get his chance to prove himself? Of course, as Solskjaer has already confirmed.

“Don’t worry about that,” the United boss said after the Chelsea draw when questioned on Van de Beek’s lack of starts. “He’ll get his games. Don’t worry about that. It’s easy to say who should be playing and more difficult to say who shouldn’t.”

The complete overreaction to Van de Beek’s failure to become an instant starter is bizarre. Many will point to Fernandes’ January introduction as a case for the Dutchman to be starting more games but the Portuguese is very much an anomaly. Manchester City are yet to start Ferran Torres in the league following his arrival from Valencia while Hakim Ziyech is yet to start for Chelsea since joining from Ajax so why is United’s use of Van de Beek receiving so much criticism?

History suggests that United may be taking the best course of action over his development – the perfect example being Liverpool. After losing the Champions League final to Real Madrid in 2018, United’s rivals announced the capture of Fabinho from Monaco in a deal worth £40m. The Brazilian was highly coveted and seen as a real coup for the Merseyside club.

A Real Madrid academy graduate, regular Brazil international and Ligue 1 winner, you would have expected the midfielder to walk into the starting XI. Nevertheless, he was an unused substitute in Liverpool’s first eight fixtures, finally making an appearance off the bench against Huddersfield in October. He started his first game in the next fixture against Cardiff and hasn’t looked back, helping his new side go on to lift the Champions League and later Premier League title.

It wasn’t just Fabinho who Jurgen Klopp opted to ease into life at a new club. Andy Robertson – who many regard as the world’s best left-back – was forced to play second fiddle to Alberto Moreno after joining Liverpool from Hull in 2017. The Scotland captain played just two games in the league before December and only enjoyed an extended run in the side as a result of an injury to the Spaniard. Now, he is one of the first names on the team sheet at Anfield and his importance to the Liverpool side grows with every game.

It’s not a case of if Van de Beek will get his chance at United – just like Fabinho and Robertson under Klopp, his time will come. The fixture list is more demanding than ever and the Dutch international will get plenty of opportunities to prove his doubters wrong.

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