Donny Van De Beek has started more matches for the Netherlands than for Manchester United since his move to the English club in early September. For United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, there’s no reason to rush his big offseason season signing into the team.
“Donny is going to play a big, big part this year,” Solskjaer said Tuesday as he fielded questions about Van De Beek’s limited role since joining from Ajax in early September.
The midfielder’s two starts have come in the English League Cup, with his other five appearances coming as a substitute in the Premier League and Champions League.
In recent games, Solskjaer has preferred Scott McTominay and Fred in central midfield, not just over Van De Beek but also Paul Pogba. It has led Netherlands great Marco Van Basten to question why his compatriot left Ajax in a deal initially worth 39 million pounds (46 million dollars).
The United manager said the difficulty Van De Beek has had in breaking into the team highlights the strength in depth in the squad. “When players come into a new league, a new team, it’s always going to be a time of (transition),” said Solskjaer, who was known as a so-called super-sub in his playing days at United.
“When Donny has played, he’s played really well. I think it says a lot about our depth of quality in the squad that we don’t have to use him every single game because we have other players as well. I also think it says everything about our ambitions, we want to go and push on, we want to go and challenge for trophies this season.”
McTominay also is urging patience with Van De Beek, who has started three times for the Dutch national team over the past two international breaks. “I feel like there’s no time to panic for Donny,” said McTominay, who was speaking the day before United’s group-stage match against Leipzig in the Champions League.
“People can be so quick to come to an assumption that he’s not playing and things like that. Give him time, let him adapt to the league, let him settle into his new house or wherever he is living and really let him concentrate on his season.