Van de Beek’s next Man Utd chance, "shocking" rhythm and Dutch declarations

You have to ask yourself, are you even a Dutch football legend if you haven't told Donny van de Beek to leave Manchester United yet?

Where there used to be Total Football there's now just Total Frustration over the fact that a player who looked so stylish for Ajax hasn't been able to stamp his authority on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's midfield this season.

Household names have been lining up to tell Van de Beek he made a mistake in joining United, that club with the brilliant Bruno Fernandes, the Paul Pogba that no-one seems to be able to price up or afford, the Fred who isn't that bad, it turns out, and the actually pretty good Scott McTominay.

Oh and the impressive results too.

United and Solskjaer might want to bend over backwards to tell us that they haven't ever been in the Premier League title race this season – because why set fans up for ultimate disappointment? – but there is no doubt that their results have been better than most predicted.

Solskjaer has had ups and downs but is growing into the job, so much so that his decisions and the thinking behind them deserve a bit more respect. If he thinks Van de Beek doesn't deserve to play then he's probably onto something.

In Holland, they disagree.

There's Marco van Basten saying that the midfielder shouldn't have moved to Old Trafford, that it was "a really bad" decision and that it was "shocking" for his rhythm.

Next up Rafael van der Vaart, who says that he would "not have it" if had been put into a similar situation by a manager upon joining a new club.

And then Ronald de Boer, whose brother Frank is now the Dutch boss, claiming that Van de Beek "may have to declare that he should be loaned or even sold" if his position at United doesn't improve.

That position is one of a 23-year-old footballer in a new country who has made 24 appearances for his new club this season – although only 11 of those have been starts and he completed the full 90 minutes in just five of them.

Still though, baby steps.

Solskjaer has been at pains to point out that he and the club are being patient with Van de Beek, perhaps getting him up to speed slowly as they wait for a possible Pogba departure.

Well that time has come. Kind of.

The Frenchman faces "a few weeks" on the sidelines with a thigh injury, according to his manager, and those few weeks might just give Van de Beek the prolonged chance to prove that his fellow countrymen's concerns aren't valid.

Tuesday night's FA Cup fifth round tie against West Ham at Old Trafford would be just the type of game the midfielder would have expected to start anyway.

He began both of the matches at home to Watford and Liverpool in the last two rounds, and curiously six of his last seven appearances for United have come in home matches.

With Pogba sidelined and the workmanlike midfield of McTominay and Fred faltering somewhat – not to mention surely a bit tired – from the 3-3 draw at home to Everton on Saturday, Van de Beek's time could well be now.

United then face Premier League matches against the hardly imposing West Brom and Newcastle as well as two Europa League legs against Real Sociedad before the end of the month, opening up even more possibilities in place of Pogba.

So is this Van de Beek's last chance? No, not at all. It is just the next one.

It could do with being one that he grasps by the scruff of the neck though, if only to keep some Dutch legends quiet.

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