Soccer

Robin van Persie warned Van de Beek over his Man Utd team-mates seven months ago

Donny van de Beek’s debut season at Manchester United has proved a frustrating one, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer using his £40million recruit sparingly since signing him from Ajax last summer.

Having emerged as one of the most promising No.10s in European football at Ajax, and playing a key part in their run to the 2018/19 Champions League semi-finals, there were high hopes for Van de Beek when he arrived at Old Trafford back in September.

United decided to prise him away from the Dutch club and add some impressive depth to their first-team squad, despite forking out £67million for another attacking midfielder in Bruno Fernandes only eight months earlier.

After completing the 2019/20 campaign in August due to the coronavirus pandemic, it seemed a fresh Van de Beek – who had not played since the Dutch top flight was curtailed in March – would inject some much-needed energy into Solskjaer’s midfield.

Nevertheless, a goal off the bench on his debut against Crystal Palace remains his only strike for United so far, coupled with a single assist in their Carabao Cup win away at Brighton back in September to go with it.

The 23-year-old has merely been afforded 13 Premier League appearances by Solskjaer, of which only two were starts. His other 13 outings have come in the Champions League, Carabao Cup and FA Cup.

While it is believed United remain hopeful that he can push on and become a more valued member of the squad next season, his opening campaign is set to go down as a major disappointment.

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  • However, when reports first emerged that he would be heading to Old Trafford back in August, Van de Beek was warned by fellow Dutchman and former United striker Robin van Persie to expect fierce competition at what is a “beast of a club”.

    “Donny van de Beek is 23 years old and that is a nice age to make a transfer to the Premier League,” Van Persie told De Telegraaf at the time.

    “I was a bit younger when I went to Arsenal, and in the locker room, I was considered a player for the future. Winning the UEFA Cup with Feyenoord meant nothing. The Premier League is a completely different world.

    “Donny will be brought in as a major purchase from Manchester United, but he will discover that those other 22 players have also been brought in as a 'major purchase'. One had an even bigger transfer than the other.

    “It means that he has to stand there right away and he has to mentally adjust to that. Because Manchester United is in every way a beast of a club.”

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