Donny van de Beek faces a defining stretch of his Manchester United career

Paul Pogba’s latest injury is a personal setback for him and an opportunity for Manchester United.

In addition to opening up a chance to promote Hannibal into the first team squad, Donny van de Beek has a real shot at regular playing time.

For Van de Beek this is a crucial stretch and a defining period for his Manchester United career.

Last season when Pogba got injured, Van de Beek’s poor fortune saw him get injured at the same time. This year the Dutchman is at full health.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images


A chance to kick on

The numbers don’t make pretty reading. Van de Beek has not started a single Premier League game this season and played fewer minutes in the competition than Dan James, who was sold in late August.

Van de Beek has been an unused substitute in nine of United’s last 11 league games.

But to put a positive slant on this going forward, Van de Beek has featured as a substitute in the last two matches, in the Champions League against Atalanta and in the league defeat to Manchester City.

This shows Solskjaer is perhaps coming around to the ideas of utilising Van de Beek more – although questions remain over whether the Norwegian will stay in charge.

Whoever is in charge, Van de Beek needs to make this spell work between now and January.

In January there will be interest in him, clubs will already have identified him as a potential target, either for a loan or permanent move, due to his lack of football at United and continued absence from the Netherlands squad.

So United need to convince Van de Beek to stay over the upcoming weeks by giving him opportunities.

Likewise Van de Beek needs to seize the chances he does get and make the most of them.

A consistent run in the side will help, rather than the intermittent chances he has received this season and last. And this will enable United to better judge him.

It’s quite possible Van de Beek is not the player United hoped he would be. But it’s really hard to accurately assess him when he does not have an opportunity.

Photo by Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images

Over the next few weeks if Van de Beek’s situation continues without change, then the writing is on the wall.

Pogba’s injury gives United an opportunity to change Van de Beek’s fate.

And possibly it might just either save, or transform the Dutchman’s Old Trafford career.

What happens between now and January is an opportunity for a fresh start. If he can establish himself as a regular and a key player, then what happened beforehand can be forgotten.

This will be a defining period for Van de Beek, who hopefully can head into January with some clarity on where he stands, one way or another.

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