Donny van de Beek is determined to win a place in the Manchester United side after positive talks with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – although he admits his time in England has been “so hard”.
Signed from Ajax last September for an initial £34.7million (€39m), the Netherlands international scored on his Premier League debut in a home defeat to Crystal Palace.
The midfielder has since found first-team football hard to come by. He has only started four league matches for the Red Devils, playing just 1,460 minutes of football, fewer than back-up defenders Eric Bailly and Alex Telles.
Van de Beek’s agent suggested there was a chance to join Everton in the transfer window, with United’s signings of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo further limiting his client’s chances of playing, but there was no progress on any possible move away.
Now, Van de Beek says manager Solskjaer has made it clear he will get his opportunities to impress, even though the 24-year-old has yet to get on the pitch for United this season.
Speaking to Vibe with Five, he said: “First year, you come from another competition and it’s normal you need time to adapt. But of course, you’re not happy. I want to play – that’s clear.
“It’s so hard. Of course, also mentally, it’s so difficult. The only thing you can do [is] I train really hard every day, I try to improve and you just wait for your chance. If the moment is there, I have to be ready.
“If you’re lost or anything, just talk with players, be a part of the team. If you’re not playing, try to help them and be positive. You can sit there and just be angry, but that’s not the key to come in the team.
“You need to be involved with the team. Sometimes you’re angry, every player has that. You’re not going to show them if you’re not training hard any more. You give the manager a reason to play without you.
“I speak with the manager about it, the club, and they were clear they want me to stay. The manager was really positive about me and said, ‘I need you, I want to keep you here because what I see now, in training, I see a different Donny now’. He was really positive about me.
“He saw a big difference, a little bit stronger now and he can see I have a one-year experience in England now.
“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 what I can [do].
“You can never promise a player if he will play or not, but I think I agree that I have to play more. You can train hard every day but, in the end, you need game time to show your best shape. If you play once in a month, you cannot show your best. That’s really important.”
Despite the intense competition for places, Van de Beek was delighted with United’s transfer business, which also saw them bring in Raphael Varane from Real Madrid.
“To be with these players is fantastic,” he said. “That’s what we need: winners. I’m really positive about us this season. I think we can make big steps now.
“The level will go up, for sure. If good players join the team, the level goes up. You train with maybe 24 players, but good players can make a difference.”
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