Donny van de Beek was on the substitutes bench for Manchester United at Stamford Bridge at the weekend.
The Dutchman was an unused substitute, with United making only one change in the 0-0 draw.
Tonight’s game with Palace seemed like a good match to bring him back into the starting line-up, and give him some game time, and perhaps rest Bruno Fernandes.
United have a tough run of upcoming games against City, AC Milan (x2), West Ham and Leicester.
A rest for Fernandes may have to wait.
Solskjaer told the MEN that Van de Beek could miss out on the matchday squad against Palace.
The United boss said that the Netherlands international is some way off full fitness still.
Solskjaer said: “He’s not there yet completely. Where we want him to be or he wants to be, so he’s still a doubt for tomorrow.”
So it looks like another start for Fernandes, which isn’t bad at all, viewed through the prism of just this one match against Palace. United are more likely to play well and win with the Portuguese maestro as a starter.
Looking at the bigger picture, there’s a risk of running Fernandes out of form or into injury, due to a lack of alternatives.
Jesse Lingard is out on loan and Juan Mata is also out injured. Solskjaer won’t drop Fernandes for the City game this weekend either.
Perhaps Van de Beek will get his chance in the Europa League against Milan. He has experience in the Champions League with Ajax and deputised for Fernandes effectively at home to RB Leipzig earlier in the season.
For now, his first task is to get fit. It’s possible he does feature against Palace, but it is far more likely to be as a late substitute, rather than making a meaningful impact as a starter.
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