Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can welcome back one of his big summer signings for the trip to AC Milan – Donny van de Beek.
The Dutchman, signed from Ajax in the summer, has been missing for the last eight games in all competitions with a muscular injury, but has returned to contention and has even been included in the Red Devils’ travelling squad for the UEFA Europa League last-16 tie against AC Milan at the San Siro.
Whilst Solskjaer may think it is slightly too early to bring the midfielder back into the starting line-up due to his long lay-off, he really should think twice.
Put simply, United need goals heading into the second-leg in Italy. Following the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford last week, the Red Devils either need to win or have a higher-scoring draw.
Van de beek could provide that eye for goal from the centre of midfield.
Whilst having not yet displayed that Old Trafford, having scored only once on the opening day of the Premier League season, his goalscoring ability should not be in doubt.
In his previous three seasons at Ajax before arriving in Manchester, he managed to hit double figures in goals, whilst in two out of those prior three campaigns, he also notched over ten assists in all competitions.
Solskjaer then should consider switching out £36m-rated van de Beek for first choice midfielder Fred. Whilst the Brazilian’s personal statistics are slightly more impressive than the 23-year-old’s, with Fred producing more shots, key passes and dribbles than van de Beek per game according to WhoScored, that has not translated to tangible contributions.
When compared, the Dutchman has one more direct goal contribution this season – a remarkable number considering that he has started 19 fewer games than Fred.
Even key Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has praised van de Beek, saying the former Ajax star “moves really good” in an attacking role, a feature that would really come in handy in Milan.
Solskjaer then really should consider putting him in from the start for Thursday evening’s key clash against AC Milan as the Red Devils hunt a much-needed away goal.