Donny van de Beek is ‘playing with fear’ and without any rhythm at Manchester United, according to Jermaine Jenas.
The £40million summer signing from Ajax was handed his eleventh start of the campaign across all competitions in the 1-0 victory against West Ham in the FA Cup fifth round.
The Netherlands midfielder however has struggled to make an impact this season with just one goal and one assist from his 25 appearances, and was once again ineffective against David Moyes’ men before being replaced by Bruno Fernandes on 73 minutes at Old Trafford.
Donny van de Beek is ‘playing with fear’ and without any rhythm at Manchester United, according to Jermaine Jenas
Van de Beek was handed his eleventh start of the season in the FA Cup tie against West Ham
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men went on to qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition thanks to substitute Scott McTominay’s delightful winner in the first half of extra time.
But speaking on commentary for BBC Sport, Jenas sympathised with van de Beek, 23, and believes he needs to play more regularly to start delivering better performances.
‘That look on his face there I’ve just seen sums up unfortunately the way he’s playing at the moment with a bit of fear and a lack of rhythm,’ Jenas said as van de Beek was replaced by midfield star Fernandes.
‘I honestly don’t think it’s his fault. He’s out there being professional, doing everything he possibly can.
But he once again struggled to make an impact before being replaced by Bruno Fernandes
‘But when you don’t have that run of games in your system or belief that you can go out there and afford to make mistakes you don’t show the full version of who you are, and that creative streak which got him to the football club in the first place.’
Earlier on in the piece, Jenas saw glimpses of van de Beek’s quality after a passage of play in the first half but insisted he must not be shoehorned into the role usually occupied by Fernandes.
‘It’s a bit better from Donny van de Beek but it still feels like everything is taking a bit too long,’ Jenas added.
‘You have to be careful not to try and think Van de Beek can do what Bruno Fernandes can do. He’s his own type of player.
Jenas (above) sympathised with the Dutchman and said he needed more time on the pitch
‘I think Van de Beek is still working out of what he is for Manchester United. I’d still like him to want the ball a bit more.
‘Maybe have a shot instead of passing it back or passing it sideway. This United do not look for him, which is a bit of an issue.’
Van de Beek has started just two Premier League games this season, as well as three each in the Champions League, Carabao Cup and FA Cup respectively.
The Dutchman has been unable to dislodge Fernandes and Paul Pogba – who has starred in recent months but who was sidelined with a thigh injury against the Hammers – since moving to Old Trafford in the summer transfer window.
Van de Beek has struggled to displace Fernandes and Paul Pogba since joining from Ajax