United have a dilemma over Donny van de Beek this week
Donny van de Beek has had a tough start to his Manchester United career since his £39 million summer move from Ajax.
He has barely been used over the festive period in Premier League matches, failing to start a game in the top flight since the win over West Ham on December 5, in which he was substituted at half-time.
His last league appearance was from the bench against Leeds, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appearing to prefer his alternatives.
A ray of light exists for Van de Beek with the FA Cup tie against Watford at the weekend with plenty of rotation expected. However, the midweek match with Manchester City is far more important.
Van de Beek has started in every round so far to help United get to the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
This was just three games, but he has certainly played his part, helping United to get past Luton, Brighton, and Everton without conceding a goal.
It would feel harsh then for Van de Beek to suddenly be back on the bench for the game that matters.
He will probably be on the bench again
Unfortunately for Van de Beek, this is probably a game Solskjaer deems too important to place generosity towards the Dutchman at the top of his priority list.
Solskjaer will probably want to pick his strongest available side with the possible exception of Dean Henderson coming in for David de Gea in goal.
But even last season Solskjaer made the big call to drop Sergio Romero and bring in De Gea for the fixture. This doesn’t bode well for Van de Beek.
United’s semi-final failures last season and the strength of City as an opponent mean Van de Beek is likely going to be back on the bench again.
Having a match against Watford days later in which is ideal to rest Bruno Fernandes also makes it more likely United will field a full strength side in midweek.
Van de Beek can still be involved against City. United have five substitutes available to use, as per rules of the Carabao Cup’s latter stages.
The case for
United lined up against City in the Premier League with a four-man midfield.
This is the set up which saw Van de Beek start in the quarter-final win over Everton, and also the home win in the Champions League against RB Leipzig.
So there is a chance Van de Beek gets called up against City, if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is prepared to leave out two of Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic.
All three played some part in Friday’s win over Aston Villa. The difference Van de Beek offers is that he is fresh.
If Solskjaer believes Van de Beek’s motivation to shine and his fresh legs can offer an extra benefit which the other players don’t, then the Dutchman may get his chance.
If he doesn’t, then he should feature against Watford days later. It would just be good to see Solskjaer put faith in him for this match.
- Ten Hag eyeing £25 million move for Ajax's player of the season
- 5 alternatives to Frenkie de Jong for Manchester United, one is free, another is the PL's top bargain
- Manchester United target Antony could leave Ajax this summer, admits Daley Blind
- 19-year-old defensive midfielder thrilled to join Cristiano Ronaldo in Manchester United training
- 'He can completely destroy an opponent': Ten Hag's £14.4m Ajax star raves about former Manchester United boss
- Manchester United XI that could leave this summer, including two France internationals
- 20-year-old Manchester United talent compared to De Ligt could be big winner under Ten Hag
- Ralf Rangnick gets triple injury boost ahead of final game as Manchester United manager
- Brazilian press report Antony is keen to leave Ajax, Manchester United make 'concrete proposal'