Solskjaer hints at alternative role for 'clever mover' Van de Beek

By Ryan Benson 1 October 2020 61
Solskjaer hints at alternative role for 'clever mover' Van de Beek

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested Donny Van de Beek could feature prominently on the left side of Manchester United's midfield due to being such a "clever mover".

Van de Beek joined United as their only pre-season signing earlier this month, costing the club a reported £35million (€39m) from Ajax.

The 23-year-old had made his name in Amsterdam as an attack-minded midfielder who was also capable of playing a box-to-box role, given his useful combination of stamina and technical proficiency.

Upon joining United it seemed as though he would most likely be used as back-up to Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, an assessment since lent credence by the fact that pair started both of the club's first two Premier League matches while Van de Beek was left on the bench.

He came on as a substitute in each top-flight game, though that was not enough to spare United from criticism courtesy of his impatient agent.

But in the EFL Cup Van de Beek has made two starts and set up Juan Mata with a clever flick in Wednesday's 3-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion shortly after being pushed into an advanced role on the left to make room for Pogba after he replaced the ineffective Daniel James.

"He's got very high footballing intelligence and, tactically, he's gone through the Ajax system. Dutch football is tactical, he knows football, he's got his head screwed on," Solskjaer said when asked if Van de Beek could play more regularly from the flank.

"He's a different type of left-sided player compared to Dan James and Marcus Rashford, but coming inside and finding good pockets, why not? He can play loads of different positions, which sometimes is a strength for a player.

"I remember myself sometimes, right-wing, left-wing, centre forward, No. 10 – Donny is one the coach will always look to have in a squad."

Regarding the recent outburst of Van de Beek's agent, who specifically drew issue with the fact the Dutchman only came on in stoppage time during the dramatic 3-2 Premier League win over Brighton, Solskjaer was unconcerned and adamant the Netherlands international will see plenty of football.

"We know how many games we're going to play and he's going to be vital," Solskjaer added. "He's proved in every game he's been a part of that he's got high quality, he's such a clever mover.

"He plays the game simply but effectively, with high quality. He's knocking on the door."

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