Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted Donny van de Beek is frustrated with his bit-part role in the Manchester United squad, but says the Dutch midfielder has responded in the right way to his slow start to life in England.
The 23-year-old is yet to make a Premier League appearance in 2021, with the majority of his game-time so far coming in cup competitions. His absence has coincided with a spectacular run of form that has established United as one of the favourites for the Premier League title, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Fred all delivering impressive midfield performances.
Van de Beek may have expected more after his £40m move from Ajax, and while Solskjaer admits he is less than happy with a supporting role, the manager says he accepts that is how it needs to be while others are firing.
“I wouldn’t say that Donny is happy,” he told reporters. “Of course, he wants to play more, but he gets about his job in the right manner.
“We are doing well and have got players who are playing really well in his position.”
Van de Beek’s situation is one Solskjaer recognises. When he first arrived at Old Trafford in 1996, he took a while to establish himself and didn’t start until the sixth game of the season.
Yet he persevered to become one of the most fondly remembered players of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, scoring 127 goals in 365 appearances for the club, and he believes a similar turnaround is on the cards for Van de Beek.
He went on: “He reminds me a lot about myself, when I first came in, that he understands my difficulties and challenges.
“I was the same with Sir Alex. When he left me out I understood and I was happy for the team to win – and Donny is that type of guy.
“He knows he is important for us and knows he is going to play many games.”