Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has held clear-the-air talks with Donny van de Beek about his limited game time at Manchester United.
Van de Beek has only started 10 games for the Red Devils since joining them from Ajax in September.
‘Despite arriving with a reputation as one of Europe’s most impressive creative players, Van de Beek’s limited role has led to questions about where he figures in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans,’ writes The Athletic’s David Ornstein.
But Ornstein goes on to report that Solskjaer has reassured the Dutchman about the situation.
‘Manager Solskjaer talked to Van de Beek before the midweek trip to Fulham, providing clarity on the situation and assuring him that opportunities would come.
‘The conversation is thought to have been short but positive and left Van de Beek, who signed a contract until the summer of 2025, under the impression that his game time will increase as the season goes on.
‘It has been made clear to the Holland international that United have faith in him and there is no chance of a loan or permanent departure this month. He has not considered either of those options anyway.
‘It is believed that during negotiations about joining United, the club indicated he was likely to feature in around half of their matches during his first season.
‘That has not happened so far, with many of his Premier League appearances being as a late-game substitute and, although it still could yet materialise, Van de Beek will expect his involvement to be much higher in 2021-22.’
It should be said that Ornstein is factually incorrect when saying the player has not ‘featured’ in half the matches. United have played 31 matches in all competitions and Van de Beek has taken part in 22 – more than two thirds – although it is true that nine of those appearances were of 20 minutes or less.
‘Barring injuries or loss of form, it is conceivable that [Paul] Pogba’s departure might be the only realistic way for Van de Beek to establish himself in the side regularly,’ Ornstein continues.
‘United are said to view the Dutchman for the long-term, commend his professionalism over the course of a testing five months and feel Solskjaer’s handling of this is a credit to his leadership skills.’
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