It is no secret that Manchester United have been struggling with consistency this season, and their midfield setup seems to be the talking point time and time again.
United have a hefty number of midfield players in their squad including Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can’t seem to get the balance right with his mix of midfielders to secure some good form and consistency.
Lots of Manchester United fans have been in uproar over plenty of the manager’s calls over the last few months of the new season, but one decision has stuck out more than any other – the constant snubbing of Donny Van de Beek.
The Dutchman joined the Red Devils in 2020, and although he has shown glimmers of greatness in individual performances, Solskjaer fails to include him as a regular in his starting XI. The 24-year-old has not started a single Premier League game this season, getting a paltry 16 top-flight minutes after more than a quarter of the campaign.
When asked by the media why he leaves the £100k-p/w gem on the bench most weeks, the manager defended his decision by saying: “Donny is still working hard, of course, and at the moment it’s hard. I know he’s not happy, but he works hard and he’s a top professional. He knows that that’s the way that sometimes it works in football, at the moment he’s not playing but he doesn’t let himself down.”
There has been a lot of praise for Van de Beek whenever he has been given minutes for the Mancunian giants from club legends like Rio Ferdinand, who told BT Sport: “I think he is the one player in this squad who is happy playing one-touch, two-touch, keeping it simple… sacrificing parts of his game to help other people flourish.
“In any great team you need players like that and he’s one player who will make other players tick, and make them play better.”
More recently, former club captain Paul Ince scolded Solskjaer for not including the 24-year-old in his starting midfield, as he fumed: “This is a player who Ole said, ‘come to Old Trafford, you’re going to start in my team, you’ll cost £40 million, you’re going to be the centre hub of the midfield’. Two years down the line he’s on the bench.
“He gives him four minutes against Atalanta and then goes, ‘oh by the way, here’s your chance, go and have 10 minutes against Manchester City where we’ve not touched the ball for 85 minutes and show me what you can do’.”
According to The Mirror, Newcastle United are very interested in signing the Dutch midfielder and are reportedly keen to target both Dean Henderson and Jesse Lingard as well. Solskjaer will need to find a way to ensure that fringe players such as these don’t go looking for first team football elsewhere.
If Van de Beek and the other two depart, it could have the Old Trafford faithful venting even more fury at the already under-pressure manager. Who knows, it might even prove to be the final nail in Solskjaer’s coffin if the likes of Van de Beek continue to be overlooked and results don’t improve.