Bruno Fernandes has been outstanding since arriving at Manchester United. However, even the Portuguese superstar has off days.

Such was the case in the recent League Cup semi-final. With United needing their £67million man (BBC) in his best form, Fernandes faltered.

This is why United have strength in depth. And it is why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought in Donny van de Beek last summer.

Some questioned why United spent £40million on the Dutchman when they already had Fernandes and Paul Pogba. Yet Van de Beek’s arrival highlighted the importance of strengthening a squad and not just a starting XI.

Manchester United v Crystal Palace - Premier League
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images )


Van de Beek scored on his Premier League debut and impressed in three League Cup starts. Yet he got just two minutes in the semi-final despite United being second-best throughout.

It only take a moment for Fernandes to make his mark. His 90th-minute assist against Wolves last month is testament to that. But Solskjaer needs to be braver.

Van de Beek is too good to sit on the bench when United clearly need fresh blood. That was the case against City, with Fernandes out of sorts, Pogba back to his disappointing self, and Edinson Cavani’s absence keenly felt.

A squad game

During his time in the Netherlands, Van de Beek scored 41 goals and set up 34 more. That record is even more impressive when you consider he is still only 23.

In short, United’s summer signing knows where the goal is and he showed early glimpses of his creativity.

He may not be on the level of Fernandes. Not many are. Yet the £40million man is better than Solskjaer is currently giving him credit for.

When Fernandes isn’t doing it, there is a player on the bench who could take up the mantle.

In time, the pair should be playing together. But if United are unwilling to pick both for now, there shouldn’t be an issue replacing one with the other when required.

Have something to tell us about this article?