2021 will be the year Donny van de Beek finally feels like a Manchester United player

Donny van de Beek’s start to life at Manchester United has not quite been a roaring success. Yet.

The Dutchman has not started any of United’s last five league matches. At this point, we probably should not expect him to start against Aston Villa tonight either.

None of this means Van de Beek has or will be seen as a disappointing signing. He has played in 19 games this season for United so far this campaign and could get close to 40 by time the season is out.

This number is skewed so far with more substitute appearances than starts, but Van de Beek will eventually play a bigger role.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

He will get his chances

The FA Cup and Europa League in the second half of the season will provide these chances, while it is worth remembering we are just 15 games into a 38 match Premier League season.

United paid £39 million to Ajax to sign Van de Beek, and he is here on a long term deal until 2026. This is a player United have made a substantial investment in, and this is likely to pay off.

One glaring enigma in United’s midfield is Paul Pogba’s future. With the Frenchman’s contract expiring in 2022, it is commonly expected he will be sold in the summer.

This will create more opportunities for Van de Beek, with United more likely to invest the money from Pogba’s sale into a specifically skilled defensive midfielder, to succeed Nemanja Matic, rather than another player who would directly impact the Dutchman.

And then there is the factor to consider, ‘what if Bruno Fernandes gets injured?’.

Last season this would have been unthinkable, and considering his excellent form, it does seem like a nightmare scenario. But with Van de Beek available, United are better prepared for such an unwanted eventuality.

It would be in a circumstance like this that Van de Beek really could prove himself.

Photo by Phil Noble – Pool/Getty Images

Have patience

Obviously each time when the team is announced and Van de Beek is only among the substitutes, it leaves questions as to why he has again been overlooked.

It is important to remember the run United are on, and that Solskjaer is reluctant to deviate too much from the many midfield options he has who he has grown to trust.

Van de Beek will eventually be one of these players. Jump forward to 2023 and the Dutchman will have created many big memories in a Manchester United shirt. We just have to be patient and let it play out.

This year is likely to be a year of growth for Van de Beek at Old Trafford, the one where he begins to feel more and more like a United player.

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