Donny van de Beek’s struggle for Premier League starts has caused a bit of a stir. The summer signing has played from the bench eight times in the league but only started twice.
This has prompted questions like whether he was a player specifically signed by Solskjaer, where he fits in, and whether Van de Beek himself might regret the transfer?
Solskjaer is confident Van de Beek will kick on. He pointed to two players in his squad who took a while to adjust, while insisting the Dutchman has a big part to play long term.
Speaking about Van de Beek’s role, Solskjaer says he is looking beyond this season and believes the midfielder will feature more regularly next year.
Solskjaer told United’s official website: “
Donny has played well when he’s got the chance. I think we are too quick sometimes to jump on that if he isn’t playing, that it is a failure.
“Victor [Lindelof] and Fred are good examples in my team that it takes a little bit of time and now they are massively important players in our squad and in our team and it will be the same with Donny.
ve got loads of no.10s and loads of centre-midfielders with Paul [Pogba], Nemanja [Matic], Scott [McTominay], Fred. There are many of them and Donny has played well when he’s got the chance and that is a big thing, that you are ready.
“He is always ready, he works hard in training, [is] positive and he will make differences in many games for us this season, but he’ll grow more and more even for next year.“
Van de Beek will get his chances over the course of the long season. He has 19 appearances in United for all competitions so far this season.
Solskjaer’s comparison to Fred is a useful one. In his first season the Brazilian struggled for starts, and his current boss was also reluctant to use him at first. Eventually injuries meant Fred did get chances, and now he is seen as a regular.
The manager’s comments about next season are also intriguing. Paul Pogba is expected to be sold this summer with his current contract set to expire in a year’s time.
This will open up opportunities for Van de Beek, and United can re-invest the money in a defensive midfielder, and other areas of the squad.
Van de Beek is under contract at United until 2026, and has plenty of time to come good. Solskjaer’s comments will be reassuring for him amid his recent lack of match action.
He has a chance of featuring tonight, having started every round of the Carabao Cup so far. Even if he does not start the semi-final, United can use five substitutes, and a starting spot awaits against Watford in the FA Cup on Saturday.
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