Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has aimed a dig at pundits’ analysis of Donny van de Beek and reiterated the midfielder has a major role to play at Manchester United this season.
Van de Beek scored on his United debut off the bench against Crystal Palace and played a key role in the wins at Brighton and Newcastle but was completely unused in the goalless draw with Chelsea on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a long season and, of course, the depth of our squad is better now and to leave players out like the last game, Donny, Nemanja and Paul started on the bench, they are all experienced international footballers,” Solskjaer said. “And it’s not easy but we have so many games this season and they all are going to play a big, massive part in different parts of the season.
“So I don’t think any of them will be able to play all of them. Balance when you put an XI together is important, they have got to all work well as a team, is it three or four or two? There are all sorts of discussions, and who’s on form, who needs a break and all these little things.
“I’ve been part of a successful Man United team myself and we had two players in every single position and I think now the most successful teams that have been winning trophies have competition for places.
“It’s not easy to leave players out, it’s very difficult. But I don’t feel that pressure. The pressure is on getting results and picking a team that we think is going to win the next game and even planning the next two, three, four games because we need to win more than one game.
“But it’s a nice challenge and a nice problem to have. I’d rather have that one than having to play players that are not ready and not really ready for the Premier League.
“When players come into a new league, a new team, it’s always going to be a time of that he adapts. When Donny has played, he’s played really well.
“I think it says a lot about our depth of quality in the squad that we don’t have to use him every single game because we have other players as well. I also think it says everything about our ambitions; we want to push on, we want to go and challenge for trophies this season.
“Donny is going to play a big, big part this year. At the moment, I realise the topic is Donny van de Beek and it’s nice for some players or commentators to have a little go. I know you’re short for time when you’re on telly and you have to put your points across very quickly but you have to know that you don’t have to start the first three games to be a very important player in the squad.
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“I’d be disappointed if some of my teammates said that I wasn’t important at Man United but I didn’t start many games, so Donny’s going to be very, very important for us, don’t worry about that.”
Scott McTominay, sat beside Solskjaer, added: “You can see the way Donny comes to training every day, a big smile on his face, wanting to work hard, wanting to really impress everybody.
“As the manager said, I’m so confident Donny will be such an important figure in this team and throughout the whole season. The way he’s come in has lifted everyone else along with Alex [Telles], Edinson [Cavani]. Big signings like that who are top quality players can really lift the dressing room and I feel like we’ve seen that already with the way Alex played in Paris and, obviously, Donny coming off the bench and showing what ability he has got.
“I feel like there’s no time to panic for Donny. People can be so quick to come to an assumption that he’s not playing and things like that. Give him time, let him adapt to the league, let him settle into his new house or wherever he is living and really let him concentrate on his season.”