Meulensteen ‘baffled’ by Man Utd midfielder’s regular omission

Former Man Utd coach Rene Meulensteen says he is surprised at Donny van de Beek’s struggles at Old Trafford this season.

The Dutchman, who completed a £40million move from Ajax in the summer, only started his first Premier League match at the end of November as Man Utd came from two goals down to win 3-2 against Southampton.

He has impressed in the Champions League, making three starts, including the 4-1 win over Istanbul Basaksehir and a 5-0 victory over RB Leipzig, but was hauled off at half-time in their 3-1 Premier League win over West Ham earlier this month.

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Van de Beek did get another start in their recent 2-0 win over Everton in the League Cup but Meulensteen says he and everyone in Holland “are baffled” about his lack of game time this season.

“I don’t think it’s about [just] the treatment – it’s part and parcel of being a professional footballer – especially when you move clubs,” Meulensteen told Stadium Astro. “I think why people in Holland are baffled is that Donny van de Beek – you can ask anyone in Holland – is a very, very good player.

“He had a similar impact for Ajax at the time that Bruno Fernandes has for Manchester United now. It really surprises me that we haven’t seen him more often and to have more starts.”

Meulensteen added: “Good players always find ways to play with each other. Donny van de Beek is also a very versatile player. It’s not that he can only slot in one position. He can play in the deeper midfield position next to Fred or [Scott] McTominay, it would be no problem.

“He can play higher up or he can even play coming off the side coming in to the pocket if you have a full-back that is going forward all the time.

“So there are different ways to use him and utilise him.

“At Ajax he was really instrumental, especially in the latter years of his career at Ajax he was very important in the front end of the pitch to create chances and score a lot of goals. He has a great intelligence and an overview, and a bit of disguise to play players in and to set up other players.

“It is something that really surprises me that he’s not being used as much by Ole.”


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