Man Utd ace Donny Van de Beek must do more to earn regular game time after Liverpool showing
OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER said this week he is reminded of himself when he sees Donny van de Beek.
How the Dutchman would have loved to make the kind of impact his manager made in this fixture 22 years ago to the day.
Back then, Solskjaer famously scored an injury-time winner over the old enemy Liverpool in a fourth-round FA Cup tie at Old Trafford.
Now he gave his summer signing the chance to write his name into United folklore by doing something similar.
But VDB will have to do more than he showed here if he is to emerge from a crowded pool of midfielders and get regular game time.
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During his playing days, the Norwegian got a reputation as a supersub often playing second fiddle to more illustrious stars – but popping up with some huge goals.
Van de Beek has had to do the same since arriving in Manchester last summer – although at just 23 he will not want to be settling for a place on the bench just yet.
Before Sunday's 3-2 win, he had started just 10 matches in all competitions – coming on as a sub in 12 more.
That’s because in recent weeks, United’s midfield has been shining – with Bruno Fernandes the stand out player.
Solskjaer said this week: “He reminds me a lot about myself, when I first came in, that he understands my difficulties and challenges.
“We are doing well and have got players who are playing really well in his position.”
No matter how well he did here, he knew that the Portuguese talisman will be back in for the next game. The shirt is his for the time being.
The question is can Solskjaer find a way to accommodate them both on a regular basis?
And don’t forget Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic and Fred have all had their moments in central positions in recent weeks.
It was a quiet start for Van de Beek as he got little of the ball and struggled to escape from the shadow of Thiago Alcantara.
He had a sight of goal after a clever pass by Marcus Rashford but squared the ball to nobody in particular.
The way he went over the leg of the onrushing Alisson did him no favours in the eyes of unimpressed Liverpool players.
Then he produced a super little flick to set Luke Shaw flying down the left but the England defender’s cross was pushed away by the keeper.
But there was not much more to say about the former Ajax man’s performance – other than he will benefit from getting minutes under his belt.
With the game poised at 2-2 midway through the second half, he was replaced by Fernandes as Solskjaer looked to nick the tie.
Van de Beek looked disappointed as he came off. His chance will come again – but he may have to be patient.
That much would have been clear when he watched on from the bench as the man who replaced him scored a trademark free-kick just over 10 minutes later.
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