Donny van de Beek could be a force to be reckoned with at Old Trafford this season.
The Dutchman’s first campaign at the club was hugely disappointing and his hopes of ending the season on a high with his national side in Euro 2020 were dashed when he sustained a groin injury that ruled him out of the competition.
Rumours even started to circulate that Van de Beek had had enough and was looking to move on from United, but according to The Athletic, nothing could be further from the truth.
‘Van de Beek has no plans whatsoever to leave the club this summer and the club have not suggested they would like him to exit,’ reporter Adam Crafton said.
‘All parties are hopeful the second season will be far more successful.’
Crafton reports that the 24-year-old has gone to extraordinary lengths this summer to improve his chances of establishing himself as a regular member of United’s first team.
‘Van de Beek made clear he wanted improve his physique ahead of his second season in English football. He returned to his home village in Nijkerkerveen, a 45-minute drive from Amsterdam, and developed a plan to gain lean muscle.
‘Van de Beek enlisted the help of FysioConcept, an elite specialised training centre in Amsterdam, where he followed a personalised nutrition plan and weight-based training sessions.’
Apparently, the sessions have paid off.
‘You do not need to be a fitness expert to see that Van de Beek has amassed a larger frame,’ Crafton says.
‘After his first pre-season appearance against Brentford this week, in which he wore the captain’s armband, his team-mate Harry Maguire teased Van de Beek by writing on Instagram, “Don’t stretch that armband”, which appeared to be a reference to the Dutchman’s visible muscle gain.’
‘Manchester United players are speaking privately of a player who appears more robust and confident on the training field.
‘One source close to Van de Beek told The Athletic this week that “a hunger and fire” is burning within the player to make the grade at United.’
The new levels of fitness and determination will be good news for United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, particularly as Crafton notes, since the intention this season is to switch to a more attacking 4-3-3 formation rather than using the double pivot of Scott McTominay and Fred.
This means, in principle at least, there is one more midfield position up for grabs for which the Dutchman is qualified. He can play alongside Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, rather than instead of one or the other of them.
Crafton notes that equally important is that ‘United’s coaching staff must also give him greater opportunities to develop a run of form.’
If all goes to plan, Donny van de Beek could be like a new signing at Manchester United this season, and a world class one at that.