The Dutchman is yet to start a game for the Red Devils in the league in the 2021-22 season.

Fans and pundits alike rejoiced when a certain midfielder entered the hallowed halls of Old Trafford. The arrival of Donny van de Beek had excited the supporters and they were looking forward to the player’s exploits in a United shirt. Unfortunately, that is yet to happen.

Once an integral part of Ajax’s 2018-19 squad, now was demoted to warm the benches in England. Despite having such a talent at his disposal, former Man United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, preferred to field the duo of McTominay-Fred over the youngster. The 24-year-old’s fate remains unchanged even under new manager Ralf Rangnick.

It is baffling to many why a player like Donny van de Beek isn’t getting more minutes. We bring you five reasons why the German architect might not be including the young midfielder into his building plans.

5. Presence of other midfielders with better defensive capabilities

For the first few matches in-charge, Rangnick ran with the midfield duo of Scott McTominay and Fred. The Brazilian had come under immense scrutiny towards the end of the Solskjaer era. He finally found his playing boots under the new boss and turned a new leaf. He improved so much so that the diminutive midfielder was the match winner against Crystal Palace.

On the other hand, the Scot has become more of a box-to-box player, skipping away from opposition players and fancying his chances from the edge of the box. This came to fruition in their recent victory over Burnley.

For the past few games, the German has been trying out the midfield two of Matic and McTominay. In this duo, the Serb was seen playing a deeper role. In Rangnick’s 4-2-2-2 system, he would need defensively sound players in front of the backline. While Donny van de Beek can intercept balls and wiggle his way out of bad situations, the aforementioned players have proved their worth when it comes to defending.

4. Rangnick spoilt for choice in attack

Fernandes and Sancho have been the two attacking players behind the strikers (Courtesy: The Daily Star)

If we move further up the pitch, the two attacking players behind the forwards have usually been Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho. Even Marcus Rashford can put in a shift in this position if needed. Hence, the presence of such names may be a reason why the former Ajax man isn’t getting his minutes.

Playing Fernandes is valid as he has proved his mettle countless times, but one can debate between Sancho and Donny van de Beek. The former has slowly taken to life in the Premier League. This is so because he was given the chance to. Perhaps his speed and crossing abilities from the wings give him the edge over the Dutchman.

3. The current formation isn’t suitable for Donny van de Beek

It would be ironic to suggest that the midfielder can’t fit the current system when he was deemed as the perfect candidate to suit the German’s gegenpressing. Whenever we have had the luxury of seeing Donny put on his United shirt, we have seen his willingness to win the ball back. It is as high as the next player, perhaps more. He is also aware of all the pockets of space around him, which he can use to further advance the ball in the pitch. Yet, he hasn’t featured in a game where Manchester United played in the 2’s formation.

He started one match under Rangnick in the reverse fixture against Young Boys in the Champion’s League group stages. He was played as the holding midfielder in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Van de Beek produced some amazing numbers, despite it not being his favoured role. To surmise, Ralf Rangnick would probably have to tweak his system to accommodate the Netherlands international.

2. Solskjaer’s lingering reservations

The man might have left the job, but his ideas may still live on. It was a known fact that the Norwegian preferred playing the Mc-Fred pivot over the youngster. This might have affected Rangnick’s thought-process while taking over the reins from his predecessor.

In his first press-conference as the Manchester United boss, the German revealed that he had had a lengthy conversation with Solskjaer. The candid talk included matters of the squad and players. He might have slipped a side note on Donny van de Beek, but this is just another contentious reason backed by no proof.

1. The squad is still looking for its identity

The new man at the helm had warned that things won’t change at the club over a couple of weeks. In their most recent match against Wolves, which ended as Rangnick’s first defeat as interim coach, the squad could be seen going through an identity crisis. Maybe time is what is needed by the coach to figure things out. Perhaps the 4-2-2-2 formation is just not cut out for the players he has at hand.

If he tries the 4-3-3 approach, then Donny van de Beek could thrive alongside Bruno Fernandes in the midfield three. This is certainly a matter of conjecture whether a change in system would accommodate the services of the player.

With the January transfer window already open for business, the youngster could very well be looking for a move away from Manchester, despite assurances provided by the Man United manager. The player’s well-wishers, and the player himself, would be hoping for a start in the FA Cup tie against Aston Villa where he can give his Man United career another chance.

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