Van de Beek exclusive: I will give everything
Donny van de Beek believes his playing style is a great fit for Manchester United and he's looking forward to trying to help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his new team-mates win many trophies over the coming years after completing a dream move to Old Trafford.
The 23-year-old has penned a five-year contract with United, with an option for another year, and while our new signing is currently away on international duty with the Netherlands, he was able to speak to MUTV's Mark Sullivan via video link to discuss his delight at becoming a Red...
Donny, welcome to Manchester United. How does it feel to be embarking on this next stage of your playing career?
“Thank you. First of all it’s really nice. In my career it’s a good time to make a step to a nice club. I think I have made a really good decision to join this amazing club. I cannot explain [how I feel]. I have heard all the stories from the old players, including Edwin [van der Sar], our old director, and Daley Blind, my old team-mate, and I cannot wait to play for the club.”
Edwin has obviously got plenty of history with our club as you say. Did you have many conversations with him about United before making your decision?
"Yes, I talked with him and he told me a lot of stories about the club and about everything. He told how big the club is and how nice an experience he had with it.”
Watch van de Beek's first interview as a Red!Video
You follow in the footsteps of a lot of very good Dutch players we’ve had at Manchester United, including the likes of Robin van Persie and Ruud van Nistelrooy. Did the history that they made here inspire you to join United?
“Yes, it’s a really big history. I watched a lot of their matches before and I also had a really good meeting with the coach [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] and that for me was a really important thing. We talked about football things, about the club and I always make decisions about my feelings and my feelings were directly good with everything. That was for me an important thing.”
What is it about United that convinced you this should be your new home?
"If you know me and the kind of football player I am, and my style and everything, then I think I can have a good combination with the club and the players also. If you look at the players the club has, they are young players, the same age like me and I cannot wait to play with them.”
How would you describe your playing style to United fans who may not have seen much of you yet?
“I’m a midfielder that likes to go into the box – making runs, goals, assists. A lot of the time, I cover a lot of distance in games, this is also a thing that is a strength for me, to get into the box of the opponent.”
Did you grow up watching the Premier League?
“Yes, for sure. A lot of Dutch players played in the Premier League and I followed it a lot. It’s the biggest competition in the world so I’ve always liked to watch the Premier League.”
What excites you about playing in the Premier League and how big a challenge will it be for you?
"Always when people tell you something about the Premier League, they tell you it’s really strong with heavy competition. I will see that. I want to work on my physicality, on everything, to make steps again, because for Holland I was strong and physically good, but now I want to make steps again to improve and help the club get prizes and titles.”
You join a very exciting midfield unit at the club. How much are you looking forward to working with the rest of the midfielders at United and learning from each other?
“I was watching a lot of them and there are a lot of good players in the midfield and I can’t wait to play with them. It will be really nice and I will enjoy playing with these kinds of football players.”
As we speak you’re away about to represent your country, but how excited are you to get to Manchester and meet all your team-mates?
“I don’t know anyone from the team so I am really, really looking forward to seeing them, to meet them and to play with them. The only one who I know is Timothy [Fosu-Mensah], I was playing with him in the Ajax youth team a long time ago. I have talked already with him and he said ‘when are you coming? You’ve waited too long to come!’ [Smiles] He’s making jokes with me which is nice.”
What are your memories of the 2017 Europa League final between United and Ajax?
“Yes we played against you guys and that time it was not the best game from us. To be in a final for Ajax was really special, but if you get to a final you want to win. I think that game we didn’t deserve to win, United were better that day. We were really disappointed, but this is football and it happens."
It must have been a good experience to play in that final and you’ve also played a lot in the Champions League and gained some good experience in Europe…
“Yes. I have played a lot in the Champions League and Europa League with Ajax and I take a lot of experience from that. If you play in these kinds of games you will improve as a football player."
You haven’t played competitive football since the beginning of March due to the coronavirus. We’re less than three weeks away from the start of the Premier League season… you must be absolutely raring to go and desperate to get playing again?
“It has been a really difficult time because as a football player, okay you are training, but you want to play games. This is the best thing for a footballer, that you play matches and it was too long for me [without playing] because they cancelled the Dutch league. As you say I really want to play official games and I cannot wait.”
You will be wearing the no.34 shirt. Can you tell our fans why you’ve chosen that number?
"Yes. This is a special thing for me because my good friend Abdelhak Nouri… maybe you know the story, he had a heart attack and he’s a good friend of mine and I’m really close with his family and his brother is one of my best friends and I talk a lot with them. So I decided to take his old number on my shirt and I want to get good memories with this number.”
Finally, what is your message to the United fans?
“I hope to see them soon in the stadium when it’s allowed after the coronavirus. I will give everything to the club and I hope we can take titles and a lot of prizes.”
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