Legends show backing for van de Beek
Donny van de Beek's Manchester United career is still in its infancy and more patience is required with the talented Netherlands international, according to two club heroes.
Old Trafford legends Dwight Yorke and Bryan Robson have spoken of their faith in the summer acquisition from Ajax, who started the Emirates FA Cup win over West Ham United on Tuesday night.
It is clear that the Dutchman will benefit from more game time and Paul Pogba's injury could present greater opportunities for him to reach top form.
The 23-year-old has featured in 25 games this term as he is introduced to life in England, and has been selected to start each of our three successful FA Cup ties.
And because his best long-term role in a side that has been largely impressive is still to be ascertained, there is the belief, among staff and supporters, that will we soon see his best form, particularly as his attitude and work-rate remain top class.
When Yorke signed in 1998, the circumstances were very different for the striker. The former Trinidad & Tobago international scored twice in his second appearance, against Charlton Athletic, and never looked back. Not only was he top scorer but the team landed an unprecedented Treble at the end of that unforgettable campaign!
However, while he hit the ground running after the move from Aston Villa, he appreciates that is usually not the case.
“I feel for players because they come in with a big fee and expectations at a football club like United,” he told us.
“Donny's come in as a big-name summer signing for us and a lot is expected of him. You know, when you come to this club, there is competition for places and it's not straightforward. You've got to earn the right to be in the team.
“He's found himself in an unusual position and he has to fight hard and show determination to overcome this and get into the team.
“He'll get the chance to impress the manager, who is seeing him on a daily basis in training, but the performances and the results have largely been fantastic so the manager is caught with his hands behind his back. He needs to pick the players who are getting results to this point and a manager, as an aspiring manager myself, these are the problems you want. You're trying to manage these players in the right circumstances but it will be very hard for van de Beek.
“He's got to be frustrated and I can understand why – because he's joined a club and has expected to be playing. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite happen for him but he'll show resilience and has to continue to believe in himself. This is where man-management comes in: to make sure he keeps his head up, his fitness and his belief that he will get more chances.
“There are different circumstances for different players. Like you said, I was very fortunate to hit the ground running and it became pretty easy for me from the beginning. But I've seen players struggle from the start and not gone straight in. So, as far as I'm concerned, Donny will try to prove himself and show he deserves more chances.”
Robson knows what it takes to produce the goods consistently in the engine room at United, after making his British record £1.5million move in 1981 eventually look like an absolute steal.
“Some players take a little bit longer than other players,” he explained.
“I think the problem for Donny, at the moment, is trying to impress the manager and get straight into the team when Bruno Fernandes has been playing magnificently.
“In the way he plays, they are very similar roles, and then the re-emergence of Paul Pogba over the last couple of months, before his injury, has been really good. Paul was playing how we know he can play and so that made it very difficult to get Donny into the team. But I've been impressed by some of his qualities. I can see he's a worker; he's just got to be a little bit patient.
“When he gets his chance [like against West Ham], he has got to impress Ole, as the manager.”