Alex Telles and Donny van de Beek must seize chances

Manchester United are likely to rotate the first team squad this week for the home game with Leicester.

The fixture comes just two days after the win over Aston Villa, leaving little recovery time. United have also sealed a top four place.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the club website: “The boys who played Thursday night and today will not play 90 minutes on Tuesday, for sure.”

Two players who can expect to start, having sat out the Villa game, are last season’s summer signings Donny van de Beek and Alex Telles.

Both of them have had difficult campaigns, as they have not been able to establish themselves as regular starters.


This upcoming game against a strong Leicester side is a great opportunity for both players to show what they can do.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Donny van de Beek

Van de Beek played all 90 minutes against Roma, although it wasn’t a performance to get excited about.

Against Leicester, he should play in his preferred position, with Bruno Fernandes expected to drop out.

His success may depend on the make-up of the side around him. He has previously linked up well with Juan Mata when they have played together, and the pair could both feature against Leicester.

Van de Beek created a goal in his last appearance against Leicester when he dummied Paul Pogba’s pass for Mason Greenwood to score.

Remarkably, this would be Van de Beek’s first Premier League start of 2021.

He has only started two league matches, with the previous coming in December, and he has only 332 league minutes to his name.

Van de Beek cost United £40 million and so far the club has not seen a return on that investment. There’s still plenty of time, and the Dutchman can do himself a big favour with a good performance against Leicester.

Upcoming games against Liverpool, Fulham and Wolves also, could provide further opportunites for Van de Beek to show his quality. He just needs to play well enough against Leicester to encourage a run in the side.

Alex Telles

Alex Telles struggled when he came on against Roma at half-time, with United conceding three second half goals. It was one of those performances not to get too hung up on, and just chalk off to a lack of regular game time.

So he should get a clean slate, for his likely start against Leicester this week.

The former Porto left-back has started only six Premier League games all season, and played just once in the league as a substitute.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

It feels like he hasn’t had a proper chance to show what he can do, due to Luke Shaw’s excellent form and surprisingly strong fitness record. Last season Shaw had two lengthy spells out with injury and extra cover was needed.

To Telles’ credit, he has two assists in his total seven Premier League appearances.

The real questions over the Brazilian are defensively. Leicester will give him a test, and it is one he will need to rise to.

The £15m total deal to sign Telles was not a huge outlay, and was worthwhile in terms of providing cover and competition for Shaw.

It is now time for Telles to step out of Shaw’s shadow a little, and finish the season strongly. He will get the opportunity to do so over the next fortnight, and has to make the most of his chance.

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