Later News Sep 07

Van de Beek believes Solskjaer has plans for him beyond warming Manchester United’s bench

Manchester United’s forgotten man, ‘Donny van de who dat now?’, is confident that he made the right decision to stay at the club this summer despite not enjoying the sort of playing time you would associate with a £39m (S$72.5m) player.


The 24-year-old has barely featured for the Red Devils under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, making only four starts in the English Premier League (EPL) since arriving at Old Trafford last season.


WATCH: Van de Beek's best moments at Ajax


Once hailed as a bright prospect in the world of football, Van de Beek’s status has dropped considerably over the past year, with the Dutchman now regarded simply as a mascot for United’s jersey sponsor, TeamViewer.


While other players might question their career and life choices after spending a season being unable to even displace McFred from the team, Van de Beek retains hope that Solskjaer will come to appreciate what he can bring to United on the pitch, instead of simply relying on him to warm the bench on cold, wintry days.


“I spoke with the manager about it and the club. They were clear they wanted me to stay here. The manager was really positive about me, and he said, 'I need you and I want to keep you here',” Van de Beek told Rio Ferdinand’s FIVE podcast.


“Of course, what I see here now in the beginning of the season is difficult because I didn't play one minute, but he said, 'What I see every day in training, I see a different Donny now'.


“I need to trust him. If he doesn't need me, I think he will let me go. I think he has plans with me.”


WATCH: Solskjaer insists Van de Beek is important to United


One reason why Solskjaer might be so reluctant to utilise Van de Beek in United’s midfield is his uncertainty over where the former Ajax star should play. Should he play as a six? An eight? A 10? Or as a 12th man, in the stands?


Van de Beek insists he does not give a fish’s tit about where he is deployed, as long as he gets to play.


“They know me because in Ajax, they played me as a number 10 a lot. I can also play as a number 8 or 6,” Van de Beek declared.


“But, of course, I don't know what the manager thinks or what he expects from me. It really depends on how you play as a team. For how we play, I think the best position for me is a number 6 or 8.


“I don't care where! I only want to play, so it doesn't matter where.”


While Van de Beek opted to stay at United this summer, one player who decided to make the move away from the EPL after realising he was unwelcome at his club was former Arsenal winger Willian.


The 33-year-old was evidently unhappy at the prospect of hanging around the Emirates Stadium dressing room for another season doing nothing – he preferred to do that on the pitch instead – and ultimately decided to terminate his contract with the Gunners so that he could join Brazilian side Corinthians on a free transfer.


WATCH: Willian admits to being 'unhappy' at Arsenal


Willian, who scored just one goal in 37 appearances for Arsenal last season, has since publicly denounced his time at the club, saying it was an “unhappy” time for him. Arsenal fans, like our Siao Mate Noah Tan, would be the first to tell him the feeling was mutual.


“Unfortunately, my time at Arsenal was not good, I wasn't happy at the club,” Willian told TV Corinthians.


“I don't need to go into details, but I wasn't happy and I thought that returning to Brazil was the best option.


“I studied some other opportunities, but I wanted to return to Corinthians, to my home, to be close to my family. It's the club that projected me to the world, revealed me. The right time to come back was this.”




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