Donny van de Beek made his first competitive start of the season for Manchester United in the 2-1 defeat to Young Boys in the Champions League.
But following Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card, the Dutchman was replaced at half-time for Raphael Varane as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted to switch to a back three.
It was the latest in what has been a frustrating turn of events that have gone against the former Ajax man.
Starting alongside Fred, van de Beek was hoping to impress Solskjaer and stake his claim for further starts, but he only played for 45 minutes.
How did van de Beek perform?
With Paul Pogba playing out on the left, van de Beek was playing in a double pivot with United’s number 17.
The 24-year-old was keen to make a impression and was sliding into tackles on the artificial pitch.
He was eager to get on the ball and dropped in to receive passes from either Harry Maguire or Victor Lindelof.
In the 45 minutes he played, van de Beek had 31 touches and completed 23 of his 25 passes (92%), which meant he had the best pass completion rate in the United team (WhoScored).
What was more impressive was van de Beek’s willingness and desire to change up his short, one and two touch passing with a long raking pass.
There were times when he cleverly picked out Bruno Fernandes and set United off on an attack.
Van de Beek was busy in the middle of the park and won one tackle and made two interceptions.
Start against West Ham?
After making his first start, van de Beek will be craving more action and will have hoped he’s done enough to retain his place against West Ham United on Sunday.
But coming up against the powerful and physical Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek, Solskjaer may opt to bring Pogba back into central midfield alongside Fred or Nemanja Matic.
However, with United facing West Ham at Old Trafford just three days after the league clash in the Carabao Cup, van de Beek will expect to start alongside either the returning Scott McTominay or even potentially the talented youngster Hannibal Mejbri.
There are going to be more chances for van de Beek, he just needs to be patient, work hard on the training ground and seize the opportunities when they come.
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