Erik ten Hag sends message to Donny van de Beek over Manchester United future

November 11, 2022

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag believes it would be illogical for Donny van de Beek to leave on loan in the January transfer window.

Van de Beek has started United’s last three matches but was substituted in all of them and his meek performances have been widely criticised.

The 25-year-old occupied the playmaker role in each game yet he only had 11 touches of the ball in the first-half of the League Cup win over Aston Villa – fewer than goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

Also read: Ten Hag indicates who his first-choice striker is

Van de Beek wanted to join Everton in the 2021 summer transfer window amid a lack of game-time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and he eventually moved to Goodison Park on loan in January.

Ten Hag coached Van de Beek at Ajax and there was an assumption the Netherlands international would regain form under his compatriot but Van de Beek has failed to take his chance.

I don’t think the loan makes sense,” Ten Hag said. “It’s either he fights and proves himself in this environment or he goes, but for me, there is still a way for him.

“But it’s not going to be easy for him because the competition there is really strong.”

Van de Beek has not been included in any of Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands squads since the former United manager replaced Frank de Boer as coach 15 months ago whereas Davy Klaassen, an Everton misfit who returned to Ajax, is a regular in the Dutch squad.

Although Van de Beek is contracted to United until 2025, there is an increasing belief he is not suited to the tempo of the Premier League and Ten Hag understood that viewpoint.

“I see the opinion but when I watch back the performance in Sociedad and also Villa, he is there in the positions I expect a 10 has to do,” Ten Hag added. “And nowadays, it is difficult for a 10 to really show themselves.

We have the romantic idea of the No.10 as a playmaker giving the final passes, that they have to play in the middle of the park. But it is difficult there because nowadays all the good teams close the middle of the park, so it is really difficult to get a lot of ball touches.

“So that is also not the player who Donny van de Beek is but what he is doing well is his positioning and his movement together with the strikers, especially with the No.9, that combination, he is really good in positioning and anticipation in and out of possession, he did that to my satisfaction in the last games.

But I have seen he is not on the scoring list, he is not on the assist list and he can do better. He is still not there on his limits, I have seen him better in the past, definitely. But I think positioning wise he is acting quite well.

“But he has to make that step with pace and intensity.”