After the first international break of the new season, Manchester United will have six games across 18 days during September.
The footballing calendar was never going to be as stretched and crammed as it was last season due to the pandemic and the rescheduled European Championships.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows that in order for his team to arrive fresh and primed for an assault on hopefully several fronts come the turn of the year, he’s going to have to utilise and trust his squad.
One man who is desperate to launch his Manchester United career is Donny van de Beek, but the question every United fan will be asking is when will we actually see the Dutchman feature this season?
Lack of action
Van de Beek, is yet to feature in United’s opening three Premier League games this campaign.
The former Ajax man was hoping to use the international break with Holland to get some much-needed game time, but that didn’t materialise.
Instead, former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal highlighted the need for the midfielder to be playing regularly as a reason for his omission.
Van de beek now finds himself in a similar situation to earlier in the summer, after a disappointing first season at the club, the 24-year-old’s debut campaign was compounded with him being ruled out of the Euros with a groin injury.
But it meant he had the opportunity to get a full pre-season under his belt at the club, something he didn’t get last year, and stake his claim to start the season opener against Leeds.
He played against Brentford and impressed in the 4-0 victory against Everton ahead of the season opener against one of our fiercest rivals.
But despite Fred only recently returning from Copa America duty and Scott McTominay nursing a groin injury – which later required surgery, Solskjaer opted against starting van de Beek and went with the ‘McFred’ partnership.
Against Southampton, with McTominay only able to play 20 minutes, it was Nemanja Matic who was preferred over the Dutchman.
Away to Wolves, Paul Pogba who had featured from the left-hand side to devastating effect in the opening two games of the season was brought into central midfield.
Agent confirms Everton talks
Van de Beek’s agent Guido Albers confirmed (via The Athletic) talks were held with Everton about a move this summer, only for United to block a move away on the night before deadline day.
Albers said: “We had conversations with Solskjaer and the board. We took the initiative to find a club and our search ended up at Everton. We opened talks with Marcel Brands and Farhad Moshiri.
“On Monday night (prior to deadline day) we received a call from Solskjaer and the club who told us that a transfer was out of the question and that he had to report himself to training the next morning.”
Concerns over Ronaldo impact
Albers hasn’t quite been gripped by ‘Ronaldo-mania’, but instead he has concerns the impact the returning legendary 36-year-old will have on van de beek’s already depleted game time.
Speaking to Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sport, Albers said: “Cristiano arrived on Friday which we knew was bad news for us.
“(Paul) Pogba plays on the left, and with Cristiano’s arrival it means another extra player in midfield with Pogba moving away from the left.”
When can we expect to see VDB?
United’s first game after the international break against Newcastle will all be about CR7, but with players returning from international break at different times and McTominay recovering from surgery, van de Beek could be given a chance to play alongside a rested Fred.
But the most likely opportunity for van de Beek to feature and hopefully start will be against West Ham in the Carabao Cup on 22nd September.
If United would have drawn a lower league side then the chances of the Dutchman featuring would have increased dramatically.
But the cup clash against David Moyes’ side which comes three days after the league game against West Ham could be the game earmarked for McTominay’s return from surgery, which could see the Scot play alongside a more defensive-minded player like Matic
The chances of van de Beek featuring in place of Bruno Fernandes look slim with Jesse Lingard ready and waiting to replicate his West Ham and England form for United.
September is going to be a crucial month for van de Beek, if he doesn’t feature this month then his chances of breaking into the side look bleak, but if he takes his chance, it could be the catapult his United career needed.
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