It’s often easy to forget that footballers are human too, so moving to a new country in the midst of a global pandemic could make it hard for a lot of players to settle.
Donny van de Beek had been associated with Ajax since he was a kid so moving to Manchester was always going to be a massive step, while he did struggle to start games in his debut season as it started to look like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer didn’t really know what to do with him.
At his best he’s a fantastic box-to-box midfielder who can get into the box and score goals on a regular basis, but there isn’t an obvious role for him in the current setup and that would explain why he looks hesitant and lacking in confidence when he does get to play.
That also had a knock-on effect into the summer where there was plenty of speculation over his future, but some interesting comments have emerged today:
Van de Beek to @fiveuk: “Solskjaer told me: ‘I want you to stay here’. I need to trust him. If he doesn't need me, I think he will let me go. I think he has plans with me, I just need to work hard and I hope I can show the people, one day, what I can do”. ? #MUFC #ManUtd
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 6, 2021
He makes a great point that the manager would simply get rid of him if there wasn’t some kind of plan in place, but the Dutchman’s comments about trust are especially interesting as that does suggest he might have to adapt to a different role and simply trust that he can do himself justice.
There’s also the issue with Paul Pogba’s future which is still unclear so he may still be the long-term successor to him if he leaves, but it will be interesting to see exactly what the plan for the former Ajax star is.