After Manchester United swiftly completed the signing of Donny Van De Beek in the summer, many fans were excited about the potential partnerships and depth he would offer to their midfield.
Now eight games into the season in all competitions, the Dutch midfielder has started just two games and is yet to start in the Premier League.
He featured for just two minutes at the Parc Des Princes during Manchester United’s Champions League opening win over Paris Saint-Germain, while in the Premier League he has mustered up just 61 minutes of football over four substitute appearances. Even despite scoring on his debut against Crystal Palace and getting an assist during his League Cup appearance against Brighton, Ole has kept him sidelined.
In recent games Solskjær has opted for a midfield duo of Fred and Scott McTominay following Paul Pogba’s wayward start to the campaign. This has led to question marks and criticism of his treatment of the young Dutch midfielder from fans, ex-pros and pundits including Gary Neville.
While there are rumours that Van De Beek was signed by the board rather than by Solskjær himself, I don’t believe those to be true.
I think what is more likely, is that Solskjær is looking to his trusted enforcers in the squad to apply some solidity to a side that was leaking prior to his changes. Since the 6-1 defeat to Tottenham, Man United have conceded twice in three games compared to the 11 conceded in three league games prior to that.
We’ve seen in the past that Jurgen Klopp has taken his time to integrate new signings into the starting line-up, with Fabinho and Andrew Robertson barely featuring for the first six months and now key figures in the Liverpool line-up.
It’s possible that Solskjær wants to do something similar, while also wanting more defensive stability in the middle of the pitch. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Van De Beek begin to feature more going forward now, with the ship steadied following the shocking start to the season.
With RB Leipzig at home in the Champions League in midweek followed by a visit from Arsenal, he may continue as a substitute in those games. Following that, United have a trip to Istanbul in the Champions League followed by a trip to Goodison Park against Everton where I think he will begin to see more game time.
His attributes are of great use to Solskjær and he has performed well in the limited amount of game time he has had so far this season.
As it stands, it’s too early to be too concerned by his lack of involvement. That’s not to say you shouldn’t disagree with it, I do. He’s good enough to be playing already and can make an impact on results in a positive way. However it’s only been five league games and one Champions League game.
Lets be patient and let the situation develop before making an early judgement on whether he’s being misused or unfairly left out of the team.