Van de Beek swapping shirts on international duty speaks volumes for Man Utd
Donny van de Beek has had a rather turbulent start to life at Manchester United, following his £35million move from Ajax.
Much has been made of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reluctance to throw the Dutchman in the deep end, and there has been genuine anger aimed at the Norwegian for having not yet started Van de Beek in the Premier League.
But interestingly, none of the outrage aimed at United’s handling of the midfielder has come from Van de Beek himself. Rather it is the people around him.
Ajax legend Sjaak Swart, who is an adviser to Van de Beek, was the first person to speak out on the midfielder’s situation, saying: “A substitute; I don’t like it at all.
“I couldn’t do it, coming on with four minutes left. You’d have to leave me on the bench. But, I have to say, he still did three good things.
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“And the penalty, where the winning goal came from, came from him. He did well in those couple of minutes. But normally they should have lost 7-1. Brighton hit the post and the bar five times.
“They [Brighton] have a nice team, but that shouldn’t happen to Manchester United.”
This was followed up by former Man United defender Gary Neville, who labelled Van de Beek’s absence against Chelsea a “mystery”.
“He doesn’t seem to be at the forefront of Ole’s plans in every game,” said Neville.
“It’s a bit of a mystery, that one. The more he doesn’t start, the more he doesn’t come on, well, a £40m-player, ordinarily, you get him into the team.
“He must be thinking, ‘What am I doing here?’ at this moment in time.”
Former United left-back Patrice Evra took things a step further, saying: “We’re talking about Van de Beek… why did we buy him?
“I have nothing against the kid, but why did we buy Van de Beek? He’s watching the game from the stands every game because we don’t need him.
“That’s the truth, but people will not say it loud.”
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink agreed with the Frenchman’s assertion, adding: “You are spot on. He’s an attacking midfielder, his strength is getting in the box and getting at the end of things and scoring goals or creating like [Bruno] Fernandes.
“If he has to compete with Fernandes he’s not going to play is he?”
It’s not just former professionals with a link to Manchester United who have been chiming in on the issue either, with two of Van de Beek’s compatriots fighting his corner.
Marco van Basten was the first to speak out, telling Rondo: “Donny should not have gone to Manchester United. When you are a good player you want to play every week.
“It is really bad for a player like Donny to play only six or seven games this year. That is shocking for your match rhythm.
“I know he is earning loads and loads more than he used to. But as a top player you have to be critical and look at the chances of playing when you sign for a new club.
“Donny should have waited for better prospects and signed for another club.”
And then Rafael van der Vaart took to the stage, telling NOS: “Wait? Patience? Would you like it if you are stuck on the bench?
“The players in front of you can’t even kick a marble and [Solskjaer] still does not put you in the team. I would not be happy. I would certainly not be enjoying my football there.
“Look at the player Donny is and how he performs at international level. I would not have it.”
After digesting all this, everything points towards Van de Beek being unhappy at United and the transfer being nothing short of a disaster.
But Van de Beek has, for the most part, kept his cards close to his chest.
He did admit that it is frustrating watching the action from the bench, and would admittedly rather be helping his team on the pitch – like any footballer – than playing the role of a mere spectator at Old Trafford.
But, rather admirably, the 23-year-old has ignored the debate around him and kept his head down.
The international break is currently in full swing, with domestic football on hold until Saturday, November 21.
Van de Beek represented his nation Holland in a friendly with Spain on Wednesday, and found the back of the net in the 1-1 draw.
After the match, Van de Beek made a point to sought out his Man United team-mate David de Gea, who played no part in the contest, in order to swap shirts with him.
The gesture speaks volumes in regards to what Van de Beek thinks of United, and confirms that despite the noise around him, he’s happy where he is and with the decision he made.
Manchester United also got on board with confirming to fans there are no problems where Van de Beek is concerned on Saturday morning.
Posting on Twitter an image of the Dutchman, alongside his recent comment: “I am really enjoying being at United. It is a nice team. I have been received very well and helped by everyone,” the Red Devils wrote: “Donny is feeling right at home!”
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