Manchester United’s upcoming Premier League clash against West Brom is the perfect opportunity to unleash Donny Van de Beek by handing him his first Premier League start.
The £39m acquisition from Ajax has so far featured in just 74 minutes of league football, with less than half an hour of that coming since the last international break.
Van de Beek‘s omission from the side has regularly been discussed by pundits, who have questioned why such a significant sum of money was spent for an immediate starter.
That view is largely irrelevant though, as the Netherlands international is not the first and nor will he be the last new arrival to be slowly introduced into the rigours of English football.
Every transfer window, the league is peppered with new signings, some of whom make an immediate impact but the large majority take time to settle.
That said, the next four months are when Van de Beek can get up to speed with the Premier League as there are no international distractions until the end of March.
United have work to be done, following a poor start to the Premier League season and a surprise defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League, so Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has little time to relax.
As far as fixtures go though, a home clash against a West Brom side winless since their return to the top-flight and conceding a league-high 17 goals so far this season is the perfect match to provide a boost in confidence.
It’s also the ideal opportunity to hand Van de Beek his first start in the Premier League, as it’s a game where his versatility in midfield could prove to be extremely valuable against a side that are likely to sit back and defend.
Van de Beek’s ability on the ball could also be important to unlocking that defence to create opportunities for his teammates or get a goal himself, having scored eight goals and contributed five assists in the Eredivisie last term and found the net in the Netherlands’ 1-1 draw with Spain last week.
Bruno Fernandes is the first name on the teamsheet right now but problems continue with Paul Pogba, who is still yet to hit his best form consistently with United.
With tough games coming up over the festive period, the time to settle in for Van de Beek is starting to seep away and he needs to be ready for those difficult matches.
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United entered the international break by winning what was arguably their most important match of the season at Everton on Saturday.
The under-pressure Reds came from behind to beat the Toffees thanks to Bruno Fernandes’ double and Edinson Cavani’s first goal for United.
United have a two-week break with many of their stars heading off on international duty – we’ll be keeping tabs on how they all perform, and on preparations for their next Premier League match against West Brom.
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Pogba’s inconsistency also hands the mantle to Van de Beek to spark his claim for a regular starting berth in the side, if he performs where the World Cup winner has not.
The clash with West Brom is followed by the hosting of Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League and a trip to the South Coast to tackle a high-flying Southampton side.
While those ties will come with their own challenges, it’s a run of fixtures that is ideal for Van de Beek to make an impression – starting this weekend against the Baggies.