Donny van de Beek seemed like an obvious start for Manchester United against Istanbul Basaksehir. Thankfully, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer obliged.
The Dutchman showed why Solskjaer was right to put his trust in him in a deeper role, partnering Fred in midfield.
It was an attacking approach and one which paid off. Van de Beek was integral to United’s success.
He worked hard to close down space and win the ball back in the opposition half, and was quick to keep it moving and set United on the attack.
Van de Beek made 73 touches in total, while creating two goalscoring chances.
His passing was effective, recording a 87.5 per cent completion rate.
This was Van de Beek’s best performance yet for United since signing for £39 million from Ajax.
Importantly he showed he can play alongside Bruno Fernandes, rather than just as a stand-in.
Van de Beek is good enough that he can be effective wherever he plays. This deeper role is one fans have rightly been waiting for him to get a chance in.
This weekend’s game against Southampton will be a tricky one, but Van de Beek has made his case.
He is a tidy player, and will be able to cope with Southampton’s pressing tactics better than Paul Pogba could.
Pogba was out with an injury and in this game he was not missed. But that’s a converstion for another day.
Van de Beek is a class act and his display against the Saints showed why fans have been calling for him to start more regularly.
Here is a look at the reaction to his outstanding performance…
- Predicted Manchester United line-up v Liverpool
- Solskjaer praises development of full backs Shaw and Wan-Bissaka
- Solskjaer has reportedly rejected loan bids for van de Beek, Tuanzebe and Williams
- Cavani is finally bringing success to Manchester United’s number 7 shirt
- Loan for Facundo Pellistri can work if it fast-tracks his United success
- Fred’s late battling shows why he is so important to United
- Mark Lawrenson is expecting Manchester United to beat Liverpool
- Amad Diallo’s Manchester United debut is looking more and more likely
- Three Portugal based players Manchester United should be monitoring
- Manchester United said to be keen on Bayern youngster Jamal Musiala