How van de Beek's debut will set a United record

When Donny van de Beek appears for Manchester United for the first time, the Netherlands will officially become the most-represented overseas nation in Reds’ history.

The 23-year-old will be the 13th different Dutchman to have played for United, meaning his native country will move one clear of France in the all-time rankings.

Arnold Muhren became the first man from the Netherlands to don the famous red shirt after moving from Ipswich Town in 1982.

After the midfielder left for Ajax in 1985, it took over a decade for further Dutch representation, with Jordi Cruyff – son of legendary Holland winger Johan – and goalkeeper Raimond van der Gouw both joining in the summer of 1996.

Since then United have only gone one full season without boasting a Dutch player in the first-team ranks.

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The pair were joined by Jaap Stam – a world-record defensive signing – for the Treble-winning season, with the rock-hard centre-back going on to win a further two Premier League titles before leaving for Lazio in 2001.

By then, Ruud van Nistelrooy had been signed from PSV Eindhoven and the forward soon established himself as one of the club’s greatest-ever hitmen, scoring 150 goals in 219 games in five years until transferring to Real Madrid in 2006.

Goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was another legendary Dutchman, winning a whole host of trophies with the Reds, but his retirement in 2011 meant United went through the whole 2011/12 campaign without anyone from the Netherlands making a first-team appearance.

The headline-grabbing arrival of Robin van Persie, plus the addition of young left-back Alexander Buttner soon changed that ahead of what is, to date, our final league-winning campaign, with RvP front and centre of Sir Alex Ferguson’s fitting farewell march to his 13th title.

Buttner was gone by the time Louis van Gaal sat in a United dugout for the first time, with the former Ajax manager then adding the versatile Daley Blind to our stable of players from his home country.

Memphis Depay, Tim Fosu-Mensah and van Persie himself would also make appearances for the Reds during van Gaal’s two-year stint at Old Trafford.

The departure of Blind in the summer of 2018, coupled with Fosu-Mensah’s loan to Fulham, meant the Reds began the 2018/19 season without a Dutchman in our ranks, but Tahith Chong’s debut – given to him by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in January 2019 – ensured the Oranje-Red relationship lives on.

And United supporters will be looking forward to seeing the latest addition from the Netherlands in action very soon.

COUNTRIES WITH MOST UNITED PLAYERS (OUTSIDE UK AND IRELAND)*

Netherlands – 13 players (including van de Beek)
France – 12
Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Spain – 6
Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden – 5 

*Based on player’s international affiliation, e.g. Rodrigo Possebon was born in Brazil but held an Italian passport and played for Italy’s Under-20 side.

Get ready for next season. Our 2020/21 home and away kits are available now from United Direct.

Welcome, Donny van de Beek: