It hasn’t taken long for Donny van de Beek to hit the headlines at Manchester United.
This is often the case for new signings at Old Trafford, for better or worse, but the player has seemingly fallen under both brackets. With regards to the latter category of ‘worse’, this is not by any means because he has underperformed, if anything, quite the opposite.
The Dutchman grabbed a goal and an assist in his opening two games for the club, quickly showcasing his creative talents and attacking desire both on and off the ball.
Despite this, he is yet to start in the Premier League, leading onto pundits and fans criticising Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team selections – many have even questioned the signing of VDB altogether.
Such cries have momentarily settled, with the midfielder starting in the thrilling 5-0 victory over RB Leipzig. Partnering Paul Pogba, Van de Beek continues to be eased into the midfield, which is currently brimming with options. In a season that consists of four separate competitions, including the Champions League, such depth is required, hence the arrival of the Dutchman.
Speaking to the club’s official site, the player has downplayed any sense of friction in the squad: “In the dressing room? Everybody was in a happy phase. It’s normal if you win [against] a difficult opponent. Leipzig showed last year that they are really strong and have a good team. But I think we showed also that we are also really strong and we have an amazing team and we just need to keep going now.”Embed from Getty Images
On the note of his playing time, Van de Beek also addressed the situation, but gave a typical footballer’s answer: “Players always want to play games. Training is also nice, but the games… this is why you’re playing football. I think a lot of games [means] we can improve always and I am sure that we will win more if we stay in the focus.”
The touching on ‘a lot of games’ is certainly key, with United having fixtures to play in November. It’s virtually a double gameweek every week, meaning rotation is to be expected.
Ever since Solskjaer arrived at the club, he has been keen to rebuild his squad with new faces, whether this be through transfer recruitment or the integration of academy talents. He wants players fighting for their positions, with hope of elevating performances.
The midfield area has certainly been upgraded under the Norwegian’s watch, with not even club-record signing Pogba guaranteed a starting position. There are now options across the park, for a variety of systems.
Compared to previous seasons in the post Sir Alex Ferguson era, Ole has instilled a rejuvenated atmosphere at Carrington. Part of the up-beat nature stems from this squad competition, and it is certainly a new feel to many of the players. Many are looking over their shoulders, and closely watching out for the team-sheet.
Van de Beek is clearly keen to start, but as Solskjaer has reiterated, his chances will come. The Dutchman is a professional and certainly brings some creative flair to the XI – traits that are not going unnoticed during the early stages of his Old Trafford career.