Van de Beek must have thought ‘I’m a redundant footballer…get me out here’ but now he could be key to Man Utd’s plans

5 mins read


MANCHESTER UNITED boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to have found the key to getting 11 stars working together on the pitch.

Donny van de Beek must have been thinking ‘I’m a redundant footballer . . . get me out here’ since arriving at Old Trafford in the summer.

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Donny van de Beek delivered a superb performance for Manchester United after being given his chance[/caption]

But he was king of the castle in United’s 4-1 Champions League win over Istanbul Basaksehir and offered a vision of a bright future for the team.

In what was only his fifth start, the deep-lying Dutchman offered the link between front and back that the Red Devils have been missing.

What it also crucially did was give Bruno Fernandes more freedom to do damage further forward.

No longer did he have to keep dropping deep to get the ball and get things moving because Van de Beek was doing that.

The £40million signing was answering his manager’s call to keep things simple with passing and movement that made United tick over.

No longer did Fernandes feel like he needed to do the job of two men.

Van de Beek said: “It worked really well. Some games I play No 10 and sometimes the coach needs me in the control position. That is fine for me because when I played at Ajax, I was playing in those positions, so it is OK.”

There will be sterner tests than Wednesday night to come. But there is nothing to suggest the son of Ajax cannot reproduce this form at any level.

United great and TV pundit Rio Ferdinand said: “He is the one player in the squad who is happy playing one-touch, two-touch, keeping it simple.

“He sacrifices parts of his game for other people to flourish – and in any great team you need players like that, who make other players tick. Bruno benefited from having him in the team.”

Former United midfielder Paul Scholes added: “He is very aware of what Fernandes wants to do with the ball.”

Solskjaer has been holding back the 23-year-old in the belief he is physically not ready for the demands of the domestic league.

He has started three European games and two in the EFL Cup — but none in the Prem.

Yet with a Fred or Scott McTominay next to him in a two in front of the back four, Van de Beek can work his magic.

As Solskjaer himself said: “Donny’s a different type of central midfielder, he can run forward if you have Scott in there.”


Fernandes certainly enjoyed his freedom further forward once again, proving he is more than a penalty taker when it comes to goals.

His brace took him to 21 goals in 35 appearances for United since joining from Sporting Lisbon last January.

That is the quickest a Red Devils midfielder has hit the 20-goal mark. So now a visit to fifth-placed Southampton awaits on Sunday. Van de Beek is ready. Is Solskjaer ready to pick him?



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