DONNY VAN DE BEEK impressed again for Manchester United in the Champions League in midweek and Tom McDermott reckons now is the time to play him in the Premier League, starting at Southampton on Sunday...
United travel to Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday lunchtime.
And following the 4-1 home win in the Champions League against Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday evening, the one question on everyone’s lips is; will Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally start Donny Van de Beek?
The Dutchman signed for United from Ajax in the summer for £40million, and showed his commitment by signing a five-year contract.
He’s been pictured most of the time, though, looking glum from the bench, and has had to watch on as his new side performed inconsistently.
One good showing was followed by another spell on the sidelines, and it left many people, including Dutch legend Marco van Basten, to question why he made the move to Old Trafford and not somewhere else.
There appears to be a complexity to van de Beek’s signing. Did Solskjaer really want him? Or, did he prefer Jack Grealish instead?
For some, the debate is now irrelevant.
Grealish has extended his stay with his boyhood club and looks settled, whereas United are now finally, starting to see van de Beek’s true worth.
And they’ll continue to do so IF he starts, but you wouldn’t be surprised to see him not in the starting XI at Southampton.
Van de Beek should start in a midfield three, alongside either Nemanja Matic or Fred at the base in front of the back four.
This would then allow Bruno Fernandes ahead of them, to continue causing problems in the opposition half.
Van de Beek is perfect in that role because of his technical ability and use of the ball.
When United start games with two of Scott McTominay, Fred and Matic, they become more predictable.
None of the three mentioned are as comfortable in possession as Van de Beek.
Which means if you’re lining up against United, you probably only have to concentrate on Fernandes as United’s main creative threat, and that’s when the predictability to their play creeps in, and we see these inconsistent runs.
Van de Beek’s inclusion in the starting XI really helps United in the transition from defence to attacking positions.
His natural instinct is to play the ball forward and because of that he knows exactly how to feed those in more advanced areas of the pitch.
Paul Pogba was missing from the side that beat Istanbul, and without wanting to sound like a broken record, I don’t think he should start for United again.
If Ed Woodward can move him on in January, it’s what the club should absolutely do. United need reliability and consistency in that position. Pogba doesn’t provide either.
In Van de Beek, Solskjaer has a younger alternative who is capable of filling more central midfield areas, to a higher standard.
Van de Beek, Pogba and Fernandes were never going to start at the same time, and if the plan was to ease Van de Beek in and sell Pogba next summer, then why wait?
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