Man Utd verdict: Donny van de Beek so invisible it was like they only had 10 men even before Aaron Wan-Bissaka red card

IF he wasn’t already disheartened with his Manchester United career, a half-time subbing may have just tipped Donny van de Beek over the edge.

This was supposed to be the moment to show boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer what he can bring to a team already brimmed with elite talent and big stage superstars.

Having played in all six Champions League group games last season, the Dutch midfielder was given his moment again in the competition in United’s opener away to Young Boys.

The 24-year-old’s second appearance of the campaign after a five-minute cameo against Newcastle, and his first start in all competitions since the last league game of last season.

United legend Rio Ferdinand said pre-match: “He is fighting for his career. He was given assurances that he would get these opportunities, but he's got to go and produce.

“He's wise enough to understand that. He's got to go out there and show Ole why he should be playing in his team and make it difficult to take him out.”

Paul Scholes added: “He’s got to prove he is good enough to play for Manchester United.”

But if anything, his brief showing will only convince Ole even more that he can do without the player he snapped up from Ajax for £40m last summer.


Just why Ole decided to buy him in the first place is a mystery, seeing as, over his 38 appearances for the club, he has averaged just 40 minutes per game.

It was the same story against Young Boys – being hooked at the break for Raphael Varane following Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s first-half red card.

Ole will claim it was a tactical move, but he could have quite easily taken off another attacker instead, or Van de Beek’s midfield partner Fred.

But in a damning indictment of Ole’s belief in Van de Beek, he trusts the Brazilian more.

In that respect, Van de Beek has a case to feel sorry for himself, and wonder just what he has to do to get a run in this side.

But on the other hand, he knows exactly what he needs to do – he just doesn’t show it.

Whether he likes it or not, in the brief moments you have on the pitch in a Manchester United shirt, you have to show your worth.

Especially now, in this current squad, when you are surrounded by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.

But instead of taking a grip of this game, you wouldn’t be blamed for forgetting he was even playing.

Even before Wan-Bissaka’s red card, it was as thought United were playing with 10 men, such was his invisibility.


And when you did notice him, he was either missing a tackle or committing a foul.

It certainly wasn’t for his on-the-ball efficiency. He was out-passed and produced less touches of the ball than Fred – a player who is hardly ‘world class’.

There were attempts to provide cross-field diagonal passes to the likes of Luke Shaw, but his passes just don’t have the same zip and panache as his teammates.

Yes, that may be down to the fact that he is constantly in a state of rustiness, coming off the bench or coming into a starting XI that must feel alien to him at times.

But you just want to see more from a player that is obviously so talented having ripped it up at Ajax.

A player who would cover every blade of grass, make every tackle, commit players with his movement.

But that’s just the point – we don’t know what player he even is? Is he a defensive rock? A ball-winning Pitbull? A box-to-box machine?

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The one thing we do know for certain is that he is unused, uncalled for and unwanted.

Ole said in his pre-match press conference of Van de Beek: “This is Man United, Donny. This is what it feels like.”

If this is what it feels like, don’t be surprised to see Van de Beek head for the exit door sooner rather than later.


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